Parents living in Sderot need to constantly ask themselves this dreaded question: if there is an incoming rocket and my kids are in separate parts of the house, how do I get all of them to the bomb shelter in 15 seconds?
The question became very real for Tami Jorno two weeks ago. With her husband away at work, the ode red siren went off. She has 15 seconds to get herself and her two children to safety. She scooped up her 5-year old daughter who was next to her in the kitchen and ran. Her 4-year-old son was in the living room. With no time to spare, she yelled at him to run. Although Sderot children are taught from a young age to run to bomb shelters during sirens, Tami says her children often do not hear the siren when they watch television.
The boy heard his mother’s call and ran to the shelter. Just in the nick of time. A rocket scored a direct hit on their home, destroying everything except the protected room that sheltered Tami and her two kids.
This occurred recently, in July 2014. But Sderot has been experiencing it for over a decade. Since 2005, Sderot has been the target of over 9000 rockets.
In this latest round of fighting, most of Israel has experienced what it’s like to live under the threat of rockets. Sderot, yet again, has been the most unfortunate. A factory and the Jornos’ home have been destroyed.
The people of Sderot have seen the situation slowly escalate over the years. Hamas has slowly increased its attacks, and the rockets are now reaching further densely populated cities in the North.
Naom Bedein of the Sderot Media Center has been documenting the rocket fire in Sderot since November 2006. He has witnessed Sderot becoming what he calls “the bomb shelter capital of the world,” with 6000 bomb shelters having been erected.
While the shelters have been life savers, Sderot residents say they are not the solution. Its proximity to Gaza makes it non-protectable by the Iron Dome missile defense system it. As a result, Hamas’ most devastating hits have been in Sderot.
On June 28, Saturday evening at 8 pm, the Denber Paint and Coating factory in Sderot was hit and destroyed. The rockets produced flames that burnt down the factory.
Nobody was present at the factory that night. According to Denber’s owner, Baruch Kogan, two workers in the neighboring factory were injured in the process of running for shelter in the dark.
Kogan, a father of three and grandfather of five, lives in Rishon LeTzion, a suburb of Tel Aviv. He says he moved his factory to Sderot from Ofakim, because a majority of his workers lived in Sderot. Despite the threat to his investment, he is already rebuilding the factory in Sderot. “We are rebuilding and we are staying here. We are not afraid of the missiles, and we are not going anywhere.”
The resilience of the people of Sderot is a source of pride, as much as their fear is a source of pain. Each of them fights back in their own way.
All want quiet restored permanently. “Every time Israel performed this kind of operation, we got quiet for a few years, and then they shoot again,” said Kogan. “We hope that this operation in Gaza will finish it for good.”
In this last round of terrorism, two Israelis have been killed—one elderly lady in Haifa while seeking shelter, and one volunteer on the Gaza border. Israelis are optimistic and resilient. They are staying safe, taking precautions, but managing to go about their daily lives.
At the same time, Hamas’ rocket range is increasing, and their frequency shows no signs of slowing down. While the Iron Dome system and shelters protect life (with the Almighty’s help), they do not vanquish fear, anxiety, or trauma. Moreover, Israelis fear it is a matter of time before a rocket pierces through the nation’s defenses.
On Tuesday, Israel agreed to an Egyptian moderated cease-fire. Hamas did not, and hundreds of rockets continue to fly in to Israeli territory.
Kogan told Aish.com that he considers the cease fire idea a “joke.” He believes “you cannot make an agreement with murderers.”
Israelis, especially residents of the South, are looking for answers and yearning for peace.
The first Cease-Fire failed. It wasn’t a real Cease-Fire anyway — it’s not a real one when only one side (Israel) agrees.
53% of Israelis are for continuing the response against Hamas. 12%, didn’t voice an opinion. Though the Jews are not a warring people, their desire to continue is easily explained – over the years, they’ve grown tired of Hamas finally agreeing to a Cease-Fire again, but only when they need to RE-ARM again!
Hamas fired over one thousand missiles this week. Hamas is not ready for a Cease-Fire; they still have missiles left!
IF Israel puts boots on the ground, and goes in and totally destroys Hamas, they’ll take casualties and the end result will be that Fatah will rise to power anyway. There is no easy answer and Israel won’t do what is necessary … evict the Palestinians who won’t live in peace. Palestinians freely elected Hamas … therefore one can rightfully say – ‘they get what they deserve!
To me, though Israelis want to live in peace, all Esau’s offspring should have been sent to Jordan!
Then, there’s the OBAMA question! He’s done nothing to stop Iran’s development of Nukes! He, this leftist traitor of ours, has left the door open to ARMAGEDDON!
We can thank our liberal / leftist press; they’re traitors and in spite of God’s word, they’ve built their palace on eroding sands and they’ve led others into this valley. With our current president, we all live here!
We may, just as well, rename America SDEROT!