The clang of hammer on metal and the roar of a blowtorch can be heard long before you walk into Israeli metal sculptor Yaron Bob’s workshop.
Featured prominently in his workshop is a quotation from the Book of Isaiah: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares.” Bob’s raw material is rockets and mortar shells fired into Israel by Palestinian militants from Gaza, just 2.5 miles away.
“The idea … is turning the symbol of death and destruction into a symbol of light,” Bob said.
The twisted shrapnel is dropped off at his smithy by police and Bob, 47, crafts artwork and religious symbols from the metal, selling his creations in Israel and abroad.
In the run-up to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, he was busy crafting a monumental menorah that is used during the eight-day festival that starts this year at sundown on Sunday.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah commemorates the 2nd century BC victory of Judah Maccabee and his followers in a revolt in Judea against armies of the Seleucid Empire.
Light is key to the holiday because, Jewish tradition says, the Maccabees found only enough ritually pure oil to fuel a ceremonial lamp in the temple in Jerusalem for one day, but it burned for eight days.
During a flare-up in mid-November, more than 400 projectiles were fired from Gaza and Israel mounted dozens of air strikes.
“When I’m taking the rockets and I cut them and I put them in the furnace … I’m like destroying, annihilating the rockets. So, this is my therapy.”—Reuters