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Rocket into Roses Photo Slideshow

 
 

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Hamas In Gaza

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Turning Rockets into Roses

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Watch Artist Yaron Bob turn a Rocket into a Rose

Rockets into Roses Photo Slideshow

Rockets into Roses TV Interview



MOSHAV YATED JOURNAL
Along Gaza, a Quiet (but Still Tense) Life
By ISABEL KERSHNER

Published: October 8, 2009

MOSHAV YATED, Israel - At the last stop of the artists' tour through this hazardous semi-desert, Yaron Bob fashions roses out of pieces of Qassam rockets fired out of Gaza at residents in the area. Mr. Bob repeatedly heats a metal band sawed from a rocket until it glows orange and pounds it with a hammer, working it into a slim stem and petals.

Turning Rockets Into Roses Making Art From Missiles
He chose to make roses, he said, because he was "looking for a new symbol of peace, and an answer to death."

Last winter's war in Gaza has brought some quiet to Israeli communities along the border like this one, which lived under the constant threat of rocket fire from Gaza for much of the last eight years.

Israel said its three-week offensive was intended to change the reality in the south. Since January, when the military campaign ended, the rocket fire has significantly fallen off and residents here are trying to accustom themselves to a kind of normalcy amid the lingering uncertainty and fear.

Guesthouses in local villages and kibbutzim enjoyed 80 percent occupancy during the recent New Year holiday, according to the tourism manager for the regional councils. In August, the villages and farms put on a week-long South American festival with concerts, salsa dancing and workshops, attracting thousands of visitors. Now the regional councils are promoting the tour of artists and galleries in the area.

But in some respects for the people here, the war is not over. Occasional rockets and mortar shells still puncture the calm, causing the population to relive the moments of panic. The international outcry over Israel's military conduct, meanwhile, has left many here feeling that the world is out of touch with their plight.

Up to 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the fighting, including hundreds of civilians, while the war left 13 dead on the Israeli side. A United Nations investigation led by Richard Goldstone, an internationally respected judge, found evidence of possible war crimes by both Israel and the Palestinian militant groups. Israel denounced the report as one-sided and said it ignored Israel's right of self-defense.

Not surprisingly, Israelis in southern Israel have little patience for the international condemnation, and there is not much soul-searching under way.

"People scoffed" at the Goldstone report, said Sasson Sara, the owner of a newspaper store in Sderot, the border town hit by thousands of rockets. "What does he understand? He sits in an air-conditioned room and he writes."


Yaron Bob, a teacher and a part-time metal sculptor in Moshav Yated, Israel, makes roses out of Qassam rockets fired out of Gaza.
Yafa Malka, a glamorously made-up Sderot hairdresser, said she felt "pain and humiliation" when she heard about the report.

"I am very sorry for all those who were killed in Gaza," Ms. Malka said, "but I expect my country to defend me no matter how."

According to the Israeli military, some 3,330 rockets and mortar shells were launched from Gaza at southern Israel in 2008, compared with fewer than 330 since the end of the war. But the calm remains precarious; in recent weeks there has been more frequent, if sporadic, fire. Over the Jewish New Year in September, the familiar but heart-stopping incoming rocket alert sounded over the public address system in the middle of the night. Two rockets landed on the edge of Sderot.

"The problem is not whether it is quiet or not quiet," said Mr. Sara, the newspaper vendor. "The question is, will it last? In business you cannot plan anything. People here live from one day to the next."

The relative calm has brought some problems of its own. For one thing, the steep decline in rocket fire has led to a corresponding reduction in government funds and other donations.

"We bless every day of quiet," said Amnon Kuznits, director of the Sderot Economic Company, a municipal body that develops initiatives to help the town. "People are back at work, and the children are going to school."

But as soon things improved, he said, foreign donors and government ministries cut their financing. So while many of the residents continue to suffer the psychological effects of the rocket fire, Sderot's emergency trauma center is in danger of closing down.

From a rise along the border, observers can watch the sun set in a red orb behind the buildings of Hamas-run Gaza before it drops into the Mediterranean Sea. The sounds of wartime bombing and the black plumes of smoke are gone.

Here in Moshav Yated, a cooperative village in a remote corner of the western Negev where the borders of Israel, Gaza and Egypt meet, residents grow flowers, cherry tomatoes and other produce in hothouses. Some tease lush gardens out of the sand. And in a converted agricultural shed behind his house, Mr. Bob, 38, a teacher of computing and a part-time metal sculptor and blacksmith, makes his roses out of pieces of spent Qassams, collected from the police station in the nearby desert town of Ofakim.

He made his first one last winter, at the height of the Gaza war, seeking an outlet for his often conflicted emotions. Mr. Bob says he is "not for violence," and is "for solving things peacefully." But the military offensive "brought quiet," he said.

The mayor of Sderot, David Buskila, has presented several of Mr. Bob's roses to visiting dignitaries, including Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations. The roses are created with a combination of brute force and finesse, then they are welded onto metal bases shaped like a map of Israel, growing out of the spot that marks Sderot. There are no lines on the map demarcating the borders of Gaza or the boundary of the West Bank.

That, Mr. Bob says, is "because I am not trying to say this is mine, and this is yours."

Turning Kassams into roses

Published: Nov 22, 2009

For most of us, a rose is a beautiful flower that blossoms on bushes amid thorns. For blacksmith Yaron Bob, it can blossom out of a Kassam rocket.

A 38-year-old art teacher, Bob has spent the last year molding missiles fired into Israel by Hamas into metal roses.

Bob lives on Moshav Yated in the western Negev, situated on the border where Israel, Egypt and Gaza meet. During Operation Cast Lead, Bob had an urge to create something out of the missiles that had been falling for eight years..

In the eyes of the world, Israel is often looked upon negatively, and it is highly important to him to show who Israelis really are. .

"Israel doesn't just throw rockets [at] people. And when they are thrown [at] us, I turn them into roses," he said last week. "It is powerfully meaningful when a missile that is used for killing is turned into a sign of beauty, growth and prosperity."

So far, Bob has produced approximately 150 roses, using Kassams the Israel Police have stored. With only the assistance of a hammer, anvil and stove, Bob molds them completely by himself, taking about three hours per rose. Every rose is welded onto a metal base shaped like a map of Israel, showing the location where the Kassam fell.

As Bob has sold the roses through his Web site, mostly to American Jews, he's continued to make more. "It's people from abroad, who have the rose in their lounge, that makes me happy. This is my contribution to Israel," he said.

In October, two US immigrants - Chaim Pinsky and Michael Gerbitz - met Bob and loved his idea. They decided to use "roses from Kassams" as a tool to promote solidarity among Israel supporters.

Through a joint venture with Operation Lifeshield, a firm that provides Israeli communities with air raid shelters, the roses are being marketed to North Americans, with the proceeds going to build shelters for the residents of Ashkelon.

The prices of shelters range between $19,000 and $36,000. "Our goal is to raise $250,000," Pinsky explained. A portion from each purchase goes towards the shelters, he added.

"Our attempt is to make a peaceful, better future," Pinsky said. "The message is clear: Take a rocket, a sign of destruction and despair, and transform it into a beautiful rose - our symbol of hope and tranquility."

The roses have already been presented to US Senator John Kerry, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Having the rose in Clinton's or the UN secretary's lounge puts Israel at the top of their thoughts," said Bob.

A rose will also be presented to Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin on Sunday, in a ceremony to announce and commit to the new project.


SOURCE: Israel National News

From Rockets to Roses
Hana Levi Julian

Published: Dec. 17, 2009

In the town of Yated, a few kilometers from Gaza, metal sculptor, blacksmith, and part-time computer teacher Yaron Bob, has found a way to create beauty from the tools of trauma, turning rockets into roses.


A rose by any other name...could be a Kassam!
Bob fashions the blossoms from pieces of Kassam rockets that have been fired at the Jewish residents living in nearby Gaza Belt communities.

Thousands of rockets have been rained down on the residents of the western Negev kibbutzim, moshavim and other southern Israeli communities since the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza.

It was in response to those attacks that Bob thought to transform the shrapnel and rocket shells into roses, turning the threat into beauty by "turning their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks" (Isaiah).

Each rose can take up to four hours to sculpt, and is made from actual missile scraps collected from nearby police stations in the rocket-battered cities of Sderot and Ofakim. The police themselves enthusiastically support Bob's special work.

Every sculpted blossom is welded onto a metal base shaped as a map of Israel. The stem grows out of the very spot in Israel where most of the Kassams have landed. A plaque mounted on the base records the month and year of the landing of the particular rocket from which the sculpture was made.

"It's people from abroad, who have the rose in their home that makes me happy. This is my contribution to Israel," says Bob.

The artist's roses have been presented to and acquired by emissaries from around the world including U.S. Senator John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and actress Mia Farrow, among others. A portion of each sale is set aside to help project "Operation Life Shield" build bomb shelters in southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.


From Rockets to Roses

Published: Dec. 17, 2009



In the town of Yated, a few kilometers from Gaza, metal sculptor, blacksmith, and part-time computer teacher Yaron Bob, has found a way to create beauty from the tools of trauma, turning rockets into roses.

Bob fashions the blossoms from pieces of Kassam rockets that have been fired at the Jewish residents living in nearby Gaza Belt communities.

Thousands of rockets have been rained down on the residents of the western Negev kibbutzim, moshavim and other southern Israeli communities since the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza.

It was in response to those attacks that Bob thought to transform the shrapnel and rocket shells into roses, turning the threat into beauty by "turning their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks" (Isaiah).

Each rose can take up to four hours to sculpt, and is made from actual missile scraps collected from nearby police stations in the rocket-battered cities of Sderot and Ofakim. The police themselves enthusiastically support Bob's special work.

Every sculpted blossom is welded onto a metal base shaped as a map of Israel. The stem grows out of the very spot in Israel where most of the Kassams have landed. A plaque mounted on the base records the month and year of the landing of the particular rocket from which the sculpture was made.

"It's people from abroad, who have the rose in their home that makes me happy. This is my contribution to Israel," says Bob.

The artist's roses have been presented to and acquired by emissaries from around the world including U.S. Senator John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and actress Mia Farrow, among others. A portion of each sale is set aside to help project "Operation Life Shield" build bomb shelters in southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.


"A rose by any other name..."

Published: Jan. 1, 2010

In the small Israeli town of Yated, just a few kilometers from Gaza, metal sculptor, blacksmith, and part-time computer teacher Yaron Bob literally turns rockets into roses.


Long Stem Rose
Bob fashions these roses out of pieces of Kassam rockets that have been fired from Gaza at the residents of Israel.

Each rose can take up to four hours to sculpt and is made from actual rocket remains collected from nearby police stations in Sderot and Ofakim. The rose is then welded onto a metal base shaped like a map of Israel. A plaque mounted on the base records the month and year that particular rocket landed.

Bob's roses have been presented to and acquired by emissaries from around the world, including Sen. John Kerry, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, and Mia Farrow.

A portion of the proceeds of each item sold will be donated to to help Operation Lifeshield build bomb shelters in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.


Radio Interview on Israel National Radio

Aired: December 31st, 2009

Israel National Radio
Rockets to Roses Michael Gerbitz Interview


RADIO HOST: "And it shall come to pass in the end of days that the mountain of Hashem's house shall be established as the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills. And all nations shall flow into it.

And many people shall go and say, come ye and let us go up to the mountain of Hashem, to the house of the God of Jacob and He will teach us of his ways and we will walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of Hashem.

And He will judge between the nations and shall decide for many peoples and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift sword up against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore.

Israel has been inundated with Qassam rockets from the Gaza strip for going on ten years now.

But, someone in Sderot, a little town that's been hit with the vast majority of these rockets, over seven thousand, came up with a wonderful way of answering this prophecy from Isaiah. Isaiah says in chapter 2 verse 4 - And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.

We have with us a phenomenally, interesting young man by the name of Michael Gerbitz who represents the people in Sderot that have literally taken the Qassam rockets; they've taken their swords of the enemy and they've made them into beautiful roses, plowshares.

RADIO HOST: Michael, good evening.

MICHAEL: Hi. How are you?

RADIO HOST: Thank God. We've just read from Isaiah chapter 2 verse 2, 3 and 4 and in verse 4 it says, and the prophet says they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.

MICHAEL: Well, that's exactly what's being done in Israel today, believe it or not.

RADIO HOST: If I didn't believe that you wouldn't be on Israel national radio right now. So tell us a little bit about the project. While we're talking people can surf over to rocketsintoroses.com; that's rocketsintoroses.com; one word. Michael, tell us a little bit about it.

MICHAEL: Well there's a gentleman who lives in a remote Moshav literally on the border of Egypt and the Gaza Strip in a place called Moshav Yated. A very, very interesting fellow whose name is Yaron Bob and he's actually a computer teacher. That's what he does during the day, but as evening approaches he becomes a metal sculptor.

He's a very, very talented, really fascinating individual who does very, very creative metal work. But, I believe his most incredible project is literally taking these Qassam rockets; there's about twelve thousand of them that have flown in the last eight or nine years into southern Israel.

He literally turns them into roses through his incredible metal work. It's just an incredible project.

I'll describe a little bit to you what this beautiful product looks like. The base of it is a map of Israel because this rose is a metal rose and it has to stand flat so it has a map of Israel as a base. And, right out of Sderot where Sderot lands on the map, literally a stem comes up and a rose grows right out of it with leaves along the way.

It's a beautiful piece of artwork, but much more than that it's meaningful because it's literally saying, in the place where destruction occurred, in the Sderot area; there's growth; there's beauty and growth and peace and hope. And it's literally turning swords into plowshares and it's making an item of destruction into an item of beauty. It's just a fascinating project.

And besides the idea of turning swords into plowshares; getting more political now, more current, if you will, the Goldstone report when it came out, it almost denied, certainly overlooked the fact that Israel endured these rockets for so many years without doing anything.

And finally Israel realized, hey we've got to do something here and why it took them so long to realize that is another conversation. The fact of the matter is, Israel did respond relatively forcefully and all we hear about is what Israel has done in Gaza and literally not remembering that Israel was simply just responding to all that aggression for so many years.

The Goldstone report as Prime Minister Netanyahu has said so many times really is trying to say that it denies Israel's right to self defense and literally just focuses on Israel's quote unquote, aggression, which we all know is self defense, but ignores the fact that there were rockets of so many years and how destructive they were to so many communities and how a generation of children had to face this idea of fifteen seconds as the sound goes off… and just a frightening, frightening way to live.

RADIO HOST: The listeners of Israel national radio are well aware of that fifteen second screen.

MICHAEL: Right, but not everyone out in America is aware so that's where we came on board, myself and my partner. We really decided that this is a very powerful idea. Israelis are not great at PR and marketing as I'm sure everybody out there knows.

But this is just too powerful to just let the Israelis try to run things and we said, no. This has got to go out to America and Canada; we're working on the US and Canada. We've got to get the message out there that the Jewish people literally are about peace, hope and growth and literally turns swords into plowshares, but more than that we want people to have living proof; to have something on their desk that is a piece of a Qassam rocket, right there.

And that's why Israel does what it does to try to defend itself and we want to get that message out there. We can put Internet sites up all day and all night, but there's nothing like a piece of something on your desk… you know they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a piece of a rocket is worth more than a thousand words. It really speaks for itself.

RADIO HOST: Many people have asked me over the years, could I take back a bullet, could I take home something to show to my friends?

In the past I've given the people very close to the President and the First Lady, pieces of glass from buses that have blown up, but here everybody listening to Israel National Radio now can just go to rocketintoroses.com and literally buy a piece of a Qassam rocket that has been beaten by a Jew, from a sword into a plowshare, into a beautiful, beautiful rose. That's something remarkable.

MICHAEL: Now one piece I didn't mention and this is, as powerful as everything was, this is really what makes it even more powerful. When I found these Israelis, part of what they were saying was we're giving money to support Israeli artists, which is a wonderful cause and supporting anybody living in Israel trying to make a living is a wonderful cause.

But, we decided to take it a step further and besides supporting Israeli artists, we decided that we wanted to give for every rose sold to help build shelters to protect Israelis from future attacks. I mean God forbid, we hope that they won't happen, but based on what we know that's going on from the north and the south and we know what's going on... the city of Sderot, thank God is very, very well protected and fortified right now because of all the press that they got from enduring all those rockets.

But for example, the city of Ashkelon, we met with the mayor several weeks ago and Ashkelon is very unprotected. It's a much larger city and it's very well within the range of Gaza and it needs shelters desperately.

So what we're doing is we're giving to Operation Life Shield which is an organization that literally their whole essence is to build shelters and they're professionals at it. We're giving to them to help build shelters in Ashkelon.

There are different types of shelters. We've gotten to learn a lot about how shelters are made, where they're located and they serve different purposes. The portable shelters can be moved from one location to another depending on where they feel the danger is the greatest.

Not only can people identify with swords into plowshares and taking something of destruction and building on it, not only can people be reminded of Israel's endurance of twelve thousand rockets, but you can actually make a difference and protect Israelis in the future by helping to build shelters by buying these beautifully sculpted roses; rocketsintoroses.com. It's very powerful. It's really just a two page website, but we've got video on there. We've got some imagery so it's very, very powerful.

RADIO HOST: So, Michael, again people just surf on over to rocketsintoroses.com. And I want to say thank you to Michael for everything that they're doing.

And we hope that when we walk into offices all over the world we'll be able to see these roses and give a little smile and say, wow, not only did these people listen to Michael but they actually went over and got themselves a rose; they can show it to their friends. They can connect it with what they believe on a day-to-day basis and they can help to build shelters in the towns in Sderot that need it.

I thank you Michael for your time.


Israeli Artist Creates Beauty from War Materials
Julie Stahl
CBN News Correspondent

Published: Jan. 22 2010

YATED, ISRAEL - For years Israelis have been plagued by rockets fired from the Gaza strip. But now, one Israeli artist is working to turn that suffering into beauty.

Turning Rockets Into Roses
William Shakespeare wrote that a rose by any other name still smells as sweet. Yet the roses in some Israeli communities once carried the fragrance of death and destruction.

Yaron Bob is an art teacher and blacksmith who lives in Yated, a small Israeli community near the border with the Gaza strip.

Some 8,000 terrorist rockets fired from Gaza have smashed into Israeli communities like Yated during the last five years.

"The first Kassam that I was receiving, I didn't want to touch them," Bob said.

Bob had two close calls and when the Israeli military moved to stop the rockets last year, Bob knew he had to do something, too.

"This is an instrument of death," Bob added. "I didn't want to handle it. But in Operation Cast Lead the feeling was accumulating inside of me. And so many missiles was falling on Israel and so many alarms and all the situation was very stressful."

Bob said he did not want to create something obvious like a peace dove, he wanted something more meaningful.

"I needed to make something that will say growth and prosperity and to make something out of the destruction and after the ruin of the Kassam," Bob said. "It struck me that I need to make a rose from the Kassam."

Bob collected the spent rockets after they have been checked by the bomb squad.

The sculpture's base is a map of Israel with the rose growing out of the border with Gaza. Although the rose, stem and base are made of Kassam remains, there is no sign the flower comes from rocket metal.

"I take the Kassam, the instrument of death and I change it, I transfer it into something of beauty," Bob continued.

Bob said he is not a pacifist, but he would like Hamas to know talking is better than firing rockets and starting a war.

His goal is to somehow let the world know people here are not hungry for war and that they want to make something beautiful.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of the roses is used to purchase shelters against rocket attacks in southern Israel.


Rockets into Roses

Published: February, 2010

In the small town of Yated, just a few kilometers from Gaza, metal sculptor, blacksmith and part time computer teacher Yaron Bob literally turns rockets into roses. Bob fashions these roses out of pieces of Qassam rockets that have been fired from Gaza at Israeli residents.


Rockets into Roses.
In summer 2005, Israelis from 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the West Bank were moved from their homes in an attempt to secure peace with the Palestinians. Families were uprooted, synagogues were abandoned, schools and businesses were closed forever, all in the hope of peace.

Instead of peace, thousands of rockets were deliberately fired from Gaza on the residents of the Israeli town of Sderot and surrounding communities. It was in response to those rocket attacks that Bob thought to make the rockets into roses, turning the very threat into beauty and in the spirit of Isaiah, "turning their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks."

Each rose can take up to four hours to sculpt and is made from actual rocket remains collected from nearby police stations in Sderot and Ofakim. The police themselves enthusiastically support Bob's special work.

Each rose is welded onto a metal base shaped like a map of Israel. The stem grows out of the very spot in Israel where most of the Qassam rockets landed. A plaque mounted on the base records the month and year that particular rocket landed.

"Its people from abroad who have the rose in their homes that make me happy," Bob says. "This is my contribution to Israel." Bob's roses have been presented to and acquired by emissaries from around the world, including John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon and actress Mia Farrow.

The roses are limited editions. A portion of each sale will be donated to Operation Lifeshield, which builds bomb shelters in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.



Leora Goldberg

December 4, 2009

FOR most of us, a rose is a beautiful flower that blooms on bushes amid thorns. For Israeli blacksmith Yaron Bob, it can blossom out of a Kassam rocket.

A 38-year-old art teacher, Bob has spent the past year molding missiles fired into Israel by Hamas into metal roses.

Bob lives on Moshav Yated in the western Negev, near the Gazan border. "I have a passion for metal," the blacksmith told news agency Israel Today. "I find it fascinating the idea of making a work of art from a piece of metal."

During Operation Cast Lead, Bob had an urge to create something out of the missiles that had been falling on the area for eight years.


US President Obama inspecting an exploded Kassam Rocket .
However, he had a specific idea in mind. "When I got my first Kassam, I tried making several artifacts out of it. But only recently, in this last Gaza war, the idea [of making roses] just popped out and [I thought] it was meant to be," he said.

"I didn't want to take a rocket and weld it together so that you could still tell it was a rocket. I wanted to take it, change it and create something new," he added.

The Jewish State has often been looked upon negatively in world media, and it was important for Bob to show who its citizens really are.

"Israel doesn't just throw rockets [at] people. And when they are thrown [at] us, I turn them into roses," he said. "It is powerfully meaningful when a missile that is used for killing is turned into a sign of beauty, growth and prosperity."

So far, Bob has produced approximately 150 roses, using Kassams the Israel Police have stored. With the assistance of just a hammer, anvil and stove, Bob molds the roses on his own, taking about three hours per flower.

The process is the same for each rose. Firstly, Bob takes a Kassam and cuts the fuselage shaft into rings. Then, employing furnace and blowtorch heat, he cuts the rings into straight strips, and slices slits at regular intervals on one end. This part eventually becomes the "petals".

Using his anvil and hammer, he makes half of the strip into a thin "stem", then slowly curves the flat bit at the top into a spiral, giving the structure of the blossom.


A rose made from a Kassam Rocket.
He then pries away at the edges of the blossom with needle-nose pliers to give the "petals" their shape and fine detail. Every rose is welded onto a metal base, which is shaped like the map of Israel, showing the location where the Kassam fell.

The map does not demarcate the borders of Gaza or the boundary of the West Bank, but Bob told The New York Times the reason for this was not political - in fact, quite the opposite. It is "because I am not trying to say this is mine, and this is yours", he said.

Bob has sold the roses through his website, mostly to American Jews. "It's people from abroad, who have the rose in their lounges - that makes me happy. This is my contribution to Israel," he said.

In October, two US immigrants - Chaim Pinsky and Michael Gerbitz - met the artist and loved his idea. They decided to use "roses from Kassams" as a tool to promote solidarity among supporters of Israel.

Through a joint venture with Operation Lifeshield - an organization that provides Israeli communities with air-raid shelters - the roses are being marketed to Diaspora Jews.

The proceeds of the project are going to build reinforced concrete shelters for the residents of Ashkelon.

Bomb shelters already in existence in Ashkelon are considered insufficiently widespread, because the advance warning for an incoming Gazan Kassam rocket can be as little as 15 seconds.

The cost of the portable bunkers, which can be easily transported on the back of a flatbed truck, ranges between $US19,000 and $US36,000.

"Our goal is to raise $US250,000 by selling these roses," Pinsky explained. A portion from each purchase goes towards the shelters, he added.

"It is powerfully meaningful when a missile that is used for killing is turned into a sign of beauty, growth and prosperity."
Yaron Bob
Sculptor & Artist

"Our attempt is to make a peaceful, better future," Pinsky said. "The message is clear: take a rocket, a sign of destruction and despair, and transform it into a beautiful rose - our symbol of hope and tranquility."

Bob added that people who have received a rose said it has served as a poignant reminder about the challenges Israel faces. "When the whole world comes and says 'why do you fight', we say this is the reason," he said, holding up the rose.

Roses have already been presented to US Senator John Kerry, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Having the rose in Clinton's or the UN secretary's lounge puts Israel at the top of their thoughts," said Bob.

His artwork has mostly drawn a positive response from Israelis in the area, although the reaction has not been universal. Oshrit Aburmad told a Times reporter that she didn't approve of the idea of turning Kassams into art because she doesn't want a reminder of the attacks. "It will only take us back there again," she said.

However, Yaffa Malka, another Sderot resident, disagreed. "I think remembrance is always a good thing, and the coming generation and the children who grew up in the shadow of Kassams can tell and show this," she said.

Bob told Israel Today that each rose also represents his fervent wish for peace with his Gazan neighbors - a sentiment he said is shared by the rest of the country as well.

"Every person that buys this work of art knows that the people of Israel are always looking for peace. We always strive to find beauty in every person, the Palestinians included," he said.
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