After years of enduring Kassam attacks from Gaza, Sderot's hesder yeshiva plans to consecrate on Thursday a specially-built, rocket-proof beit midrash, or study hall, the first of its kind ever erected in Israel.
The five-story building was constructed using tons of reinforced concrete, along with blast-proof windows and other specially-designed structural components, yeshiva spokesman Josh Hasten told The Jerusalem Post.
The aim, he said, is to protect teachers and students in the event that the yeshiva suffered a direct hit as a result of Palestinian rocket fire.
The school, which has been operating in Sderot for 15 years, has over 500 students who combine military service with traditional yeshiva studies.
Its founder, Rabbi David Fendel, said that, "the completion of the beit midrash and our dedication celebration demonstrates to our enemies that their goal of turning Sderot into a ghost town has failed."
He added that building in Sderot "is the ultimate Zionist response to the rocket attacks."
Asked about the new beit midrash, yeshiva student Motti Maya said, "Our classes used to be held in caravans and whenever there was a siren indicating a rocket attack, we had to stop class and run to the bomb shelters for our lives."
"Now, since our new building is 'Kassam-proof,' we don't have to flee," he said.
A fourth-year student who served in the IDF's elite Kfir infantry brigade, Maya said that he chose to study in Sderot "despite the rockets, because I wanted to be involved in helping the Jewish people. Things were tough down here, but I think we have made a real difference for the residents."
Among those scheduled to attend the dedication ceremony are Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Sderot Mayor David Bouskila.