Hamas rocket hits ORT Ronson High School in Ashkelon


04 July 2006 Hamas attacks ORT Ronson High School in Ashkelon Almost exactly one year after she narrowly escaped the attack at Kings Cross station in London, ORT Henry Ronson High School Principal Timora Shiri again finds herself at the scene of a terrorist outrage. This evening, Ms Shiri was with police surveying the damage caused by a Hamas rocket that smashed into the school in the centre of the coastal city of Ashkelon. It is the first time that a Qassam rocket fired from Gaza has penetrated so far into Israel. Last July, Ms Shiri was part of a group of ORT school principals and regional directors who were visiting London on a week-long fact-finding tour. Moments before they arrived at Kings Cross station a bomb exploded in the Tube train and the ORT Israel group found themselves caught up in the mayhem. The experience in London and now here in Ashkelon shows me that we have to go on with our lives as normal, Ms Shiri said. We have to continue with our work, with exams and with educating our children. Fortunately, no-one was hurt by todays Hamas rocket attack, which caused little damage to the school. The school is named after the father of British property tycoon Gerald Ronson, who has been a major funder of this and other ORT projects. Timora Shiri, second from right, with colleagues at ORT House, London last year.. The ORT Henry Ronson High School has a roll of 1,810 students and a faculty of 155 and has a reputation for nurturing underachieving students as well as nourishing gifted ones. Ivor Levene OBE, the Executive Director of British ORT, said he and his colleagues had been horrified to hear of the rocket attack against the school. Fortunately no-one was hurt despite the stated intent of the terrorists to target schools, Mr Levene said. Our schools are centres of learning and should be a safe haven for students. We pray that this will be the last attack of its kind. World ORT Director General Robert Singer phoned Mr Shiri this evening to send her the support of the entire ORT family. ORT is no stranger to terrorism: since September 2000, more than 45 ORT Israel students and graduates have died as a result of terrorist action. Special counselling skills have been developed within the ORT system to help students recover from the stress and trauma of experiencing terror attacks. This expertise was shared with a group of Russian psychologists in a training seminar in Israel last year. The psychologists have since been using what they have learned to help survivors of the 2004 Beslan school massacre, in which Islamist terrorists killed 331 people (172 of them children). World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries. Its largest operational country is Israel, where it has more than 100,000 students Jews, Israeli Arabs, Druze and Bedouin in 162 educational establishments. For further information please call Stefan Bialoguski on 0771 255 3616.