A group of 19- to 24-year-olds from Sderot brought an unusual gift to their South Hampstead Synagogue hosts — the shell of a Kassam rocket fired at their town in 2003.
The rocket shell, taken to London with Israeli government permission, was placed on the synagogue entrance table on Shabbat. “It stunned congregants to silence,” reported Alexandra Maurice, chair of the Hineni committee, under whose auspices the young Israelis visited. It was a “stark and real” reminder of the daily threat to Sderot residents.
The Israelis witnessed the Changing of the Guard and met MP Louise Ellman in Parliament. But the visit also had respite benefits.
“Do you know what it means to feel free?” asked Tamar, 23, whose mother was severely injured when four Kassam rockets landed on their house.
Hineni member Rosalind Rawson said the group had been delighted with the reception they had received. Most of the party had not known each other previously but returned to Israel “a real family”.
Meanwhile, South Hampstead intends to keep the Kassam on display for the foreseeable future.