Opinion: New Israeli Indoor Playground Comes With Rocket Warning

Israeli children have a safe place to play in Sderot. Inside a convert warehouse lies a fortified play area complete with soccer field. The play ground also has an alert system giving a 15-second warning if rockets are coming.
Welcome to a new world where children are forced to enjoy playing indoors, not because of the weather but because adults shoot rockets at each other.

The new indoor playground was opened on Tuesday in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. The town is often battered by rockets being fired at it by Palestinian militants in Gaza.

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“It’s an amazing thing. Until now, only the house and school were safe,” said Pesah Hajbi, a 43-year-old father of three. “It’s cold comfort,” he added. “If they don’t stop firing, at least there is a safe place to play.”

The centre cost $5 million and was funded by the Jewish Nation Fund- United States. The brightly coloured walls are anti-shock wave can comfortably house 500 people.

The building is divided into two sections. One is for the youngest players, the infants and toddlers of the town. The other side of the building will be used by school kids during the afternoon and other residents during the day and night.

The play areas allow the children to be kids, instead of prisoners trapped at home for fear of a bombing.

Parents of the town are grateful and yet a little sad that it has come to this. Kid are meant to be free and enjoy the sun while they run and scream with joy.


“It makes me happy but also sad,” Devora Biton, 43 said. “I’m glad the kids will have a place to go, but it means the kids will have to live under a reinforced roof, rather that play outside as they should.”

At least the children in this one town have a chance to experience a fraction of childhood. Is it wrong though to feel intense sadness that the adults of this world can’t get along well enough that our children have to play in fortresses with reinforced walls?


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