A month and a half ago, I was approached by the Sderot Media Center and asked to come lecture before a group of students in the "Ambassadors of Tomorrow" program, an offer which I gladly accepted. Little did I know then, that on the exact date we had agreed upon, was going to be in the midst of yet another series of concentrated missiles attacks from Gaza on Sderot and the region.
Just today, before I even arrived, there were several direct hits in Sderot, including on the upper floor of a house where a mother and several children were on a lower floor. I visited that family, as well as other families that had been victims of missile strikes before, as well as with a doctor treating patients who suffered from shock and local fireman and police officers. During the time I was there, the "Code Red" siren wailed seven or eight more times.
The most striking thing about the visit, though, was how the people who live in Sderot reacted to the rocket attacks. They are resilient, and it seems that every attack makes them even stronger. Every single person we spoke to all told us that Sderot was their home, and that they weren't going anywhere. No matter how many times Hamas attacked from Gaza, it just strengthened their resolve to stay in Sderot and live their lives, in the place that they call home. I was told time and again that they were willing to sit through hundreds, and even thousands of rockets that came as a response to an IDF operation in Gaza, if only the IDF was finally allowed to uproot Hamas from Gaza.
Their question to our elected government was a poignant one: "We are those who will suffer most from a Hamas retaliation to an IDF operation in Gaza. We are willing to suffer through the rockets, suffer the consequences, we are willing to play our part. When will you play your part and defend the lives of your citizens"? Having visited Sderot today, I must say that I agree. It is every government's duty to protect the lives of its citizens, and it is time for Netanyahu's government to step up and do the job it was elected to do: lead the country and keep Israeli citizens safe, so that the strong people of Sderot will never have to hear the "Code Red" siren again.