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Rocket fire hits Negev physical therapy center
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Rocket fire hits Negev physical therapy center

Alon Schuster, the mayor of Israel’s Sha’ar Hanegev region, inspects rocket damage to a hydrotherapy center near Sapir College. Photo courtesy UJC MetroWest
Alon Schuster, the mayor of Israel’s Sha’ar Hanegev region, inspects rocket damage to a hydrotherapy center near Sapir College. Photo courtesy UJC MetroWest

Kassam rocket fire caused extensive damage late last Saturday to a physical rehabilitation center near Sderot, in a region with close ties to the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ.

The rocket, apparently fired from Gaza, left a gaping hole in the roof of the Hydrotherapy Center, which is next to Sapir Academic College in Israel’s Negev region. The rocket strike shattered windows in the building, but there were no injuries, according to the Jerusalem Post.

UJC MetroWest and the area’s Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council developed partnership relationships with each other over the last decade. Their main connection involves joint projects at Kibbutz Erez, located four miles from the Sapir campus. Over the years, visitors to Israel as guests of the federation have visited the college and therapy center.

The center was closed on Saturday night when the rocket tore into a fitness room for disabled children. It also destroyed a room used for yoga and birthing classes as well as an office.

The center opened the next morning for clients, who included elderly people undergoing physical rehabilitation.

“Their determination and optimism fill me with determination and faith,” said Amir Shacham, UJC MetroWest’s Israel representative, in a statement.

The missile attack came during a weekend of heightened rocket activity. Five rockets suspected to have been fired from the Sinai desert hit the Israeli resort city of Eilat and the Jordanian port city of Aqaba Sunday. A Jordanian man was killed and three people were wounded in central Aqaba. There were no casualties reported in Eilat, where the rocket struck north of the hotel area.

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