Since I wrote this story at the start of the week, hundreds of people have joined the group. The group currently has over 350 members [up from 45 on Monday] and a whole new range of materials on building and firing rockets. I’m not sure how I feel about the ‘success’ this group is seeing, partly, I assume, thanks to the ‘Post story on today’s front page and on our website. I’m not sure its a good idea for Sderot people to make their own rockets and shoot them back at Gaza, and I don’t want to encourage it. But as you can see from the comments on the group, many people think its an idea whose time has come.
Here’s the original story:
A new Facebook group urges Sderot residents to use the internet to learn how to make crude rockets, like the Kassams fired at them from the Gaza Strip, and shoot them back at the Palestinians.
The group, which currently has 45 members, posts instructional material from the Internet on how to make rockets.
Sderot, just a few kilometers to the east of the Gaza Strip, has been under constant Kassam rocket bombardment since the end of 2000. A recent report showed that over 70 percent of the town’s children are suffering from trauma. About 10 percent of the town’s inhabitants have left to seek out a quieter life.
Facebook, the social networking site that has taken the online world by storm, allows virtually anyone who is a member of the site to create groups and invite people to join.
The group’s creators, Shai and Batya Messenberg from Petah Tikva, posted a description of the group, which states that “it cannot be so difficult: if those retards from the Gaza Strip can do it then so can you.”
The message on the group then continues to encourage residents of the beleaguered city to trawl the internet for information on how to build ballistic missiles from materials found in the home. “I’m sure that very soon they [the Gazans] will get the message,” the group’s creator writes.
A link to NASA’s Rocket Science 101 tutorial can also be found on the Facebook group’s page. The tutorial allows users to choose from a menu of rockets the ones they would like to assemble, although the NASA rockets are much larger and more complex than the Kassam rockets.
The message goes on to say that Sderot residents can also do their part in cutting off the electricity to the Gaza Strip, “even if the High Court of Justice won’t allow it,” simply by finding someone with a tractor who is willing to drive into nearby electricity poles and take them down.
The Gaza Strip receives 70 percent of its electricity from Israel, the vast majority of which is produced at the Rottenburg Power station in Ashkelon.
The group’s logo picture shows a Palestinian Kassam rocket crew preparing to fire, with the writing “This could be you” scrawled in red across the photograph.
The new group joins about 50 other Facebook groups in support of Sderot, like Save Sderot, Stop the Kassam rockets in Sderot, Light a candle with Sderot, I stand w/Sderot, From 90210 to Sderot, Children of Sderot, Skate for Sderot; For the residents of other towns in the Western Negev Not waiting for the next Kassam [this group is planning to ask all radio stations in Israel to simultaneously play the Red Alert alarm – the one heard in Sderot when Kassam rockets are fired from Gaza – on a given day and a given hour to increase awareness of Sderot’s plight amongst the country’s residents].
Last month a WIMAX wireless internet infrastructure was established in Sderot. WiMAX technology enables the use of wireless broadband links for long distances.
The Sderot project will allow students to surf the Web without cost and enjoy high-quality and continuous use of WiMAX technology. The ultimate goal of the project is to enable local citizens to enjoy wireless broadband surfing and to supply Internet links to public institutions – including kindergartens and schools – with WiMAX technology.