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.
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.