Jewish Journal

[Amy]: Arab Israeli kids ride roller coasters as rockets fall

by JewishJournal.com

August 2, 2006 | 3:32 pm

[ISRAEL August 2]: The last place you might want to be in Israel during these troubled times is hanging upside down from a roller coaster in 100 degree heat. But that’s exactly what 250 kids from Northern cities were doing on Tuesday, escaping from bomb shelters and Katyushas and living it up at Superland, an amusement park in Rishon L’Tziyon in the Central Region.

StandwithUs.Org, the media advocacy organization (that is sponsoring my trip) sponsored the children’s one-day trip, at a cost of $5,000-$6,000. They coordinated with the University Student Union, who brought in 20 students to bring in the buses and take care of the children.

“We don’t get out of the house at all,” said Diane Sansara, a ten-year old Bedouin fourth grader from a Bedouin village near Rosh Pina. Summers are usually spent on the Kineret lake or at amusement parks and hikes in the North, but now they are stuck in the village.

“We are Arabs, we don’t have shelters in the village,” said her teacher, in charge of about 30 elementary school children.

The University Students and the StandWithUs members handed out hot pizza, Coke, and chocolate and vanilla ice cream cups. A few miles away, booms shattered the air from a military base practice. A look of worry and fear crossed the students faces, but as they prepared to go into Superland, laughter and excitement replaced it.

—Amy Klein, Religion Editor

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