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Daily Israel Report

Sderot: Rockets Keep Raining, Reservists Threaten Refusal

Combat reserve soldiers who live in Sderot say they find it hard to serve to protect the rest of Israel if the state won't protect their families.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 6/1/2007, 10:59 AM

IDF reservists who live in Sderot say they find it hard to protect others who won’t make an effort to help keep their own families safe from the Kassam rockets fired by terrorists in Gaza. Two rockets were fired Friday morning - one striking an auto garage in a western Negev kibbutz. No injuries were reported.

The group of enlisted men and officers sent a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, published today in the daily Yediot Ahronot, describing their disillusionment with the way the government has ignored their families’ need for protection.

The letter was translated by Dr. Aaron Lerner, director of the Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) organization.

“With a heavy heart and feelings of harsh disappointment we are writing this letter…..We have stopped believing that someone is doing everything he can in order to protect us. We cannot accept that our children and the rest of the residents of the region will continue to be the cannon fodder of the State of Israel,” the letter reads in part.

The reservists remind the prime minister that they answered the call for duty without hesitation last summer when they were called to serve in the Second Lebanon War and charge Mr. Olmert with a double standard.

“We went out of a feeling of reciprocal pact, national obligation and common fate with the residents of the north,” the letter points out. “We feel that this pact was violating by the Government of Israel in Sderot and the communities adjacent to Gaza!”

The reservists end their letter by saying they do not want to serve and “protect the rest of the residents of Israel,” given the current situation in which “we are abandoned and our dear ones are unprotected without hope on the front.”

Israel Radio correspondent Nissim Keinan reported that the leaders of the reserve soldiers told him that the final version of the letter they gave Yediot Ahronot did not say that the sderot soldiers would not serve - but instead "find it difficult," but the paper opted to publish an earlier draft of the letter.