An­other day, an­other rocket

What does a place such as Sderot do to cel­e­brate Is­rael’s in­de­pen­dence? Over the past seven years, thou­sands of rock­ets have rained down on the town. Over 20 peo­ple have been killed and res­i­dents live in fear for their lives. Ac­claimed pho­tog­ra­pher Ju­dah

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS FEATURE -

THIS TOWN is cursed. Noth­ing is made, as­sem­bled, grown, bot­tled or canned here.

The 20,000 souls who live in Sderot — most of them Rus­sian im­mi­grants and sec­ond gen­er­a­tion North Africans — live in a grim, de­vel­op­ment-town re­al­ity of grind­ing poverty and of­fi­cial ne­glect. And then there are the rock­ets.

Within eye­shot of north­ern Gaza, Sderot is at the re­ceiv­ing end of a variety of rock­ets launched sev­eral times a day from or­chards, back yards and al­leys by Ha­mas, Is­lamic Ji­had and Fatah.

The arse­nal in­cludes the homemade Kas­sams; the im­proved, longer-range Kas­sam 2; and more re­cently, the Ira­nian-sup­plied Grad. The irony of th­ese at­tacks is that the peo­ple of Sderot are prob­a­bly as poor and dis­en­fran­chised as the Pales­tini­ans who are fir­ing the rock­ets at them. As a tar­get, this town is a par­tic­u­larly poor choice to make a po­lit­i­cal point.

When the “Code Red” alert sound­sacrossSderot­warningo­fan in­com­ing rocket, the real point of th­ese at­tacks be­comes clear: fear.

A teacher at the lo­cal el­e­men­tary school sud­denly finds her­self hav­ing to choose be­tween run­ning home to make sure her own chil­dren are safe, and see­ing to the safety of the chil­dren in her class­room.

An el­derly man knows that when the alert sounds, he is not go­ing to be able to run across the street from his house to the shel­ter be­fore the rocket falls from the sky. So he spends his days sit­ting at the en­trance to the shel­ter, wait­ing.

The rock­ets have ac­tu­ally killed very few res­i­dents of Sderot. The real toll they have taken is a psy­cho­log­i­cal one. It has made un­bear­able an al­ready pretty mis­er­able life. It is a cheap tar­get. It is ter­ror. JU­DAH PAS­SOW

Top: An IDF Merkava tank at an In­de­pen­dence Day mil­i­tary dis­play in Sderot. Above: Pieces of Kas­sam rock­ets stacked at the town’s po­lice sta­tion. Be­low: The mother of Yaakov Arpi grieves at his grave on Re­mem­brance Day

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