25,000 Rockets of Terror
The residents of Israel have endured years of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. Nearly 25,000 Hamas rockets have exploded in Israel since the second intifada, killing dozens of innocent Israelis and endangering the lives of millions more.
In the summer of 2005, Israel took the very painful step of evacuating 10,000 of its citizens from 21 communities in the Gaza region. Families were uprooted, synagogues were abandoned, schools and businesses were closed forever – all in the hope of a peaceful future.
“There will be no more rockets fired into Israeli communities”, was the Israeli position, “since Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip has ended.” Unfortunately, disengagement from Gaza had the opposite effect.
The once flourishing Israeli communities were turned into bases of terror, from which thousands of rockets were launched deep into Israeli territory. As rocket attacks intensified, fear, panic and destruction became the norm.
As sirens wailed “Code Red”, residents had 15 seconds to run for their lives. Israel’s response was muted, in the hope that restraint would lead to a diplomatic solution. But restraint only encouraged more rocket attacks.
Israel Fights Back
Operation Cast Lead was launched in December 2008 as a last-resort attempt to bring about the elusive peace and security that its citizens rightfully deserved. Although a military success, the operation was a diplomatic nightmare, as a UN report condemned Israel for its aggression.
While the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza has been significantly damaged, it was not eliminated, and rocket fire continues to terrorize Israel’s citizens. But the people of Israel are resilient – their spirit remains high and their dreams for a peaceful future remain very much alive.
They live by their biblical promise that, “Swords will be turned into plowshares” (Isaiah 2:4). Out of destruction comes growth. “Am Yisrael Chai” – the people of Israel will endure forever!
The Artist – Yaron Bob
Yaron Bob is a teacher and blacksmith who lives in Yated, a small Israeli community near the border with Egypt and the Gaza strip.
In the remote Israeli town of Yated, just a stone’s throw from Israel’s border with both Egypt and Gaza, metal sculptor, blacksmith and part-time teacher Yaron Bob, has found his way of turning “swords into plowshares”. He turns Kassam rockets that were fired into Israel by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, into beautiful hand-sculpted pieces of art – magnificent roses.
Following years of relentless rocket attacks into Israeli communities so close to home, Yaron was driven to create something positive from these objects of destruction and death.
“I find it fascinating to make a work of art from a piece of metal. It is powerfully meaningful when a missile that is used for killing is turned into a sign of beauty, growth and prosperity”, Yaron said.
The Israeli police enthusiastically support Yaron’s work. While most of the rockets are stockpiled in police stations throughout southern Israel, some are made available for Yaron’s project.
How ‘Rockets into Roses’ are Made
With just a hammer, anvil and furnace, Yaron melts, moulds and sculpts rocket metal into gorgeous art – flowers, Judaica and stunning jewelry. It is our hope that Yaron’s creations remain very limited edition pieces.
Most roses take several hours of turning and twisting rocket metal and hand-sculpting intricate petals and leaves. The larger, more detailed roses, bouquets and Judaica can take significantly longer to create. A signed and numbered certificate of authenticity accompanies each piece.
Yaron’s sculptures are true pieces of history – living proof that Israel has endured missile attacks for years. They have been warmly received by world leaders, presidents, prime ministers, ambassadors, army generals and numerous world famous personalities.
A portion of the proceeds is donated to vital Israeli charities throughout Israel, including to build bomb shelters in Israeli communities that live under the constant threat of rocket fire.
Up Close and Personal
Yaron had two close calls with rocket attacks on his home. He knew he had to react to the terror that he and his community were facing. Yaron wanted to create something that speaks of growth and hope for the future. He wanted to make something beautiful out of the destruction.
Since the rocket is an instrument of death, he didn’t want to handle it. But his frustration was intensifying with so many missiles falling on Israel and particularly in his own town and nearby communities.
The situation was extremely stressful for Yaron and and his family. He needed to do something intense and dramatic. “It finally struck me that I need to make something beautiful – a rose – from the Kassam”, Yaron said. At that moment, ‘Rockets into Roses’ was born. Now, Yaron collects the spent rockets, most given to him by the police, after they have been checked by the bomb squad.
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.”
Yaron is not a pacifist, but he would like Hamas to know that talking is better than firing rockets and starting another war. His goal is to somehow let the world know that people in Israel are not hungry for war and what they really want is a bright, peaceful and beautiful future.