Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata was assassinated around 5 a.m. this morning in Gaza in a targeted IDF strike. Palestinian Islamic Jihad responded by firing over 190 rockets into Israel, 90 percent of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome's defenses. As of 7 p.m. today (Tuesday), 46 people were being treated for minor injuries and panic attacks. An 8-year old girl has been hospitalized in critical condition after collapsing following a Red Alert siren in Holon.
Dr. Zion Huri, head of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Wolfson Hospital told reporters: "Some people, as a result of anxiety and extreme stress, may experience heart rate irregularities – which can even be life-threatening, which is what happened today."
A fire has broken out in a factory in Sderot's industrial zone after being struck by rocket fire from Gaza. Fire department services were immediately dispatched from Ashkelon and Sderot in an attempt to control the conflagration and prevent its spread, awaiting additional support.
Routine educational activities, including school and kindergarten, have been cancelled in Israel's central and southern regions in response to the security situation. 250,000 school children did not attend school as a result. In addition, Israel's Home Front Command has instructed citizens to refrain from attending work unless "essential," and to remain in their homes, or in fortified spaces such as a bomb-shelters.
Such measures taken to maximize the safety and security of Israeli citizens have far-reaching social and economic implications, as Israeli society switches gears in response to the security situation. The Histadrut, Israel's largest labor organization, reported an increase of 50% in calls to its emergency hotline today, which answered calls of distress as well as workers wishing to clarify their rights in relation to the security situation.
The Israel Tax Authority announced that parents within a 40 kilometers radius of the Gaza strip who stayed home to look after their children are eligible to file for compensation for lost wages in light of the education sector shutdown. At this stage, however, those located outside of this radius will not be compensated for lost wages.
In addition to work shutdowns, many sectors of the Israeli workforce face significant pressure to continue operating as normal despite heightened security concerns.
Reuben Ben Shimon, founder of the Workplace Accident Prevention Forum commented, "At dozens of construction sites, work is continuing and cranes are being operated as per usual, putting lives at risk, and in contravention of Home Front Command directives. Construction workers are neglected all year-round, irrespective of the present security situation, and now they are being doubly neglected with respect to the security situation. It appears that, for many contractors, profits are far more important than the lives of Israeli society's most vulnerable workers."
Medical teams across the country have been expanded in order to provide care to those seeking medical attention for stress, anxiety and panic attacks following this morning's escalation. The Transport Ministry has set up an ad-hoc situation room to facilitate proper emergency transport management.
Betzalel Smotrich, Transport Minister and MK said: "We will keep the public updated constantly with any changes. Your security and safety is our primary concern."
Meanwhile, Israel Railways has reported interrupted services in accordance with Home Front Command directives, closing the Western Negev line between Ashkelon and Beer Sheva. Israel's Licensing Bureau has also cancelled any driving tests scheduled for today.
The current escalation, while physically endangering the lives of many Israelis, also triggered a chain reaction of social and economic disruptions to the normal functioning of Israeli society, as each individual person adjusts to the security situation, while attempting to go about their daily lives.