YATED, ISRAEL - For years Israelis have been plagued by rockets fired from the Gaza strip. But now, one Israeli artist is working to turn that suffering into beauty.
William Shakespeare wrote that a rose by any other name still smells as sweet. Yet the roses in some Israeli communities once carried the fragrance of death and destruction.
Yaron Bob is an art teacher and blacksmith who lives in Yated, a small Israeli community near the border with the Gaza strip.
Some 8,000 terrorist rockets fired from Gaza have smashed into Israeli communities like Yated during the last five years.
"The first Kassam that I was receiving, I didn't want to touch them," Bob said.
Bob had two close calls and when the Israeli military moved to stop the rockets last year, Bob knew he had to do something, too.
"This is an instrument of death," Bob added. "I didn't want to handle it. But in Operation Cast Lead the feeling was accumulating inside of me. And so many missiles was falling on Israel and so many alarms and all the situation was very stressful."
Bob said he did not want to create something obvious like a peace dove, he wanted something more meaningful.
"I needed to make something that will say growth and prosperity and to make something out of the destruction and after the ruin of the Kassam," Bob said. "It struck me that I need to make a rose from the Kassam."
Bob collected the spent rockets after they have been checked by the bomb squad.
The sculpture's base is a map of Israel with the rose growing out of the border with Gaza. Although the rose, stem and base are made of Kassam remains, there is no sign the flower comes from rocket metal.
"I take the Kassam, the instrument of death and I change it, I transfer it into something of beauty," Bob continued.
Bob said he is not a pacifist, but he would like Hamas to know talking is better than firing rockets and starting a war.
His goal is to somehow let the world know people here are not hungry for war and that they want to make something beautiful.
Part of the proceeds from the sale of the roses is used to purchase shelters against rocket attacks in southern Israel.
*Originally published January 11, 2010.