Israel National Radio’s Yishai Fleisher and Tamar Yonah visited Sderot with Arutz-7's Ezra HaLevi last week. The following are interviews and photos from a day in Sderot under fire.
“Every time a door slams, every time there is a knock – we jump,” said Mechi Fendel. “It used to be we did not have the signal – just a boom out of nowhere – followed by a prayer nobody got hurt. Now, with the Code Red system, it saves lives, but it increases the time of tension as you run for cover, or lie on the ground, cover your head and pray nobody gets hurt.”
Fendel said everyone in town deals with the situation differently. “We don’t have a sheltered room in this house, so we all run into our walk-in closet. My kids now sleep there. Our daughter is the comforting one in her class, because we are calm. But there are kids all over town that are traumatized. Kids are wetting their beds. I let my kids play outside, but many people keep their children in the bomb shelters all day.”
Click here to listen to full interview with Mechi Fendel
David Cohen runs a candy store in the center of town. Arutz-7 interviewed him half a year ago for a feature story on the situation in Sderot at the time, when he called upon neighbors to take to the streets to bring about change. He is now heavily in debt, government grants and aid from the Diaspora skips over him, he says, due to calculations that include his unsold inventory. He says his wife and kids now stay in the bomb shelter all day every day. He recently received a call-up notice for reserve duty. “The government refuses to protect my family and wants me to abandon them to sit around and not protect them while wearing a uniform?” he asks. “If they told us we were going to attack Gaza and take care of the problem, the whole town would line up – but they aren’t.”
Mechi Fendel’s eleven-year-old daughter Menucha told Arutz-7 of her friends who can’t stop crying. “One girl cried so much she got sick and stopped coming to school,” she said.
Click here to listen to full interview with Menucha
Atara Orenbuch, a Sderot high school teacher talked about how quiet Sderot once was and how the transformation into a front-line community changed life and made everyday living into an act of bravery. “When I lie down, together with my neighbors during the siren, I am no longer scared – I am embarrassed,” she said. “I can’t believe we are Jews in Israel - in our own state – forced to just lye here like that.”
She was active in trying to prevent the Disengagement and in offering support for those evicted from their homes after its implementation. “Two years ago when we helped people from Gush Katif, we never imagined we would be in that same position and people would have to help us,” she said.
Click here for full interview with Atara
Noam Bedein, a student who has set up a media center in the town and runs SderotMedia.com, spoke about the experience of seeing two synagogues hit by rockets in a single week.
Click here for full interview with Noam
Shlomo Wollins, who operates IsraelReporter.com, moved to Gush Katif ahead of the expulsion and now lives in Sderot. He spoke about his practice of barbecuing in the middle of the night “because that is a time when Kassam rockets are hardly ever fired.” Wollins witnessed a rocket fall on a neighbor's home, catching it on tape and running to the scene to offer help.