Published: February, 2010
In the small town of Yated, just a few kilometers from Gaza, metal sculptor, blacksmith and part time computer teacher Yaron Bob literally turns rockets into roses. Bob fashions these roses out of pieces of Qassam rockets that have been fired from Gaza at Israeli residents.
In summer 2005, Israelis from 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the West Bank were moved from their homes in an attempt to secure peace with the Palestinians. Families were uprooted, synagogues were abandoned, schools and businesses were closed forever, all in the hope of peace.
Instead of peace, thousands of rockets were deliberately fired from Gaza on the residents of the Israeli town of Sderot and surrounding communities. It was in response to those rocket attacks that Bob thought to make the rockets into roses, turning the very threat into beauty and in the spirit of Isaiah, "turning their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks."
Each rose can take up to four hours to sculpt and is made from actual rocket remains collected from nearby police stations in Sderot and Ofakim. The police themselves enthusiastically support Bob's special work.
Each rose is welded onto a metal base shaped like a map of Israel. The stem grows out of the very spot in Israel where most of the Qassam rockets landed. A plaque mounted on the base records the month and year that particular rocket landed.
"Its people from abroad who have the rose in their homes that make me happy," Bob says. "This is my contribution to Israel." Bob's roses have been presented to and acquired by emissaries from around the world, including John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon and actress Mia Farrow.
The roses are limited editions. A portion of each sale will be donated to Operation Lifeshield, which builds bomb shelters in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.