Wary of incendiary devices being sent over the border from Gaza, police have launched a campaign telling kids to stay away from any unknown kites, balloons or drones they may find on the ground this summer.
A video put out by police Friday is a stark reflection of rampant consternation in Israel that Gazans using flying devices favored by kids as part of attempts to harm the Jewish state may end up maiming a child.
The light-hearted PSA is a veritable mirror image of the playful objects and very real fears they have inspired.
Kites and balloons have been used to start hundreds of fires around the Gaza Strip and some been found with small explosives and other dangerous substances attached, according to authorities.
The video opens with children playing soccer in a municipal basketball court. One child kicks the ball over a fence, where it lands next to a kite.
A boy runs to get the ball, sees the kite and reaches out to pick it up.
“Ori, stop! Don’t touch! It could be dangerous,” a girl yells to him.
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Ori keeps reaching, leading another boy to say, “Get away from the kite!”
The scene flashes to a police sapper taking off his helmet.
“Yes, it looks like a regular kite. But recently, balloons, kites and drones have been flying around in the air that have dangerous objects attached to them,” he explains.
“If you see a kite, or any suspicious object, walk away from it immediately, call an adult and dial 100 for the police. I and my robot Bambi” — he gestures toward a bomb-disposal robot beside him — “will come take care of it.”
The children salute and say, “yessir.”
The tagline of the campaign then pops up: “Keep away from kites and incendiary balloons, and stay safe all summer.”
Recent months have seen an uptick in violence at the Gaza border, with weekly violent Palestinian protests, ongoing rocket attacks and the new phenomenon of hundreds of incendiary kites and balloons flown over the border to spark fires in Israel, sometimes at a rate of several dozen each day.
Though no Israelis have been injured by the devices, fears are high that someone, especially a child, could be hurt if attracted to the device. Pictures are regularly shared of brightly colored balloons landing on trampolines and other places kids may go, often with disarming messages such as “I love you.”
After coming under political pressure to stop the phenomenon, the army has begun shooting warning shots at those flying balloons and kites over the border, sparking retaliatory fire and raising tensions in the region.