Sderot People Intensify Protest, Block Main Tel Aviv Highway

After a day of protests and road-blockings in Jerusalem on Sunday, the besieged Sderot residents moved next to slow down Tel Aviv traffic.

Hillel Fendel,

Kassam at the Kiriya
Kassam at the Kiriya
(Photo: Ezra HaLevi)

After a day of protests and road-blockings in Jerusalem on Sunday, the besieged Sderot residents moved next to slow down Tel Aviv traffic.  On their way to a major protest outside Defense Ministry offices in Tel Aviv, they slowed down traffic in the country's business center by driving slowly in a convoy on the Ayalon Highway. 

They also blocked traffic at several key intersections. Police showed extra consideration, allowing them to block the roads for a few minutes at a time without fear of being arrested or beaten.

Blocking Derech Petah Tikva.
Yassam riot police are on hand, but stand down.


Military police guard the entrance to the Kiriya, the IDF's nerve center and the site of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.
A recording of the 'Color Red' alert system is sounded and protesters duck for cover as they would if it were real.
A Sderot resident holds up a Kassam rocket outside the Kiriya.


If you cannot see video, then click here.

No fewer than 600 Negev residents, most of them from Sderot, are being regularly treated for the after-effects shock and trauma as a result of having been exposed to a Kassam rocket attack in their immediate vicinity. The condition has been compared to shellshock suffered by soldiers in combat. The high number of those being treated is just one of the many consequences of living in a town that has been besieged almost daily for over six years by lethal rockets. 

Hundreds of residents protested outside government offices in Jerusalem on Sunday, blocking the main entrance to the city on their way. 


If you cannot see video, then click here.

The protestors marched today to the area of the Azrieli Towers and the Defense Ministry headquarters.  They will then return to the protest tent they have erected outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, and hold another rally there.  Knesset Members and other public figures, including Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal, are expected to take part.

The protests are organized by the Sderot Security Task Force, headed by local resident Alon Davidi.  Davidi often takes pains to emphasize that his cause is not political or even ideological, "but rather just to allow the people of Sderot to live normal lives."

The crowd filled the road even as its marched toward the Defense Ministry.
A cyclist joins in blocking the road.
A protest poster shows past protests in Sderot, along with a ball bearing packed into a missile by terrorists to inflict maximum casualties.

Abandonment, Business Slowdown, Family Problems
In addition to the physical dangers, residents have the palpable sense that they have been abandoned by the government and their countrymen.  Tehila Regev, 21, who has decided to move from Sderot to Tel Aviv, told Maariv, "The people here don't belong to any elite, they have no power, and are just the simplest of the simple.  Is there any doubt that if this would happen in Tel Aviv or Herzliya Pituach, the response would be different?"

Sderot residents face a variety of major problems, including a major slowdown of business activity, especially in the outdoor market where many residents have booths. One reporter said he counted 26 stores in the city center, out of which only seven were operating.

In addition, most people no longer have the ability to lead a normal life with elements such as sending children outdoors to play, taking a walk in the park, and showering without worrying that a Color Red rocket warning alarm will sound.

Many families in the city run their lives around the fear that a rocket warning alarm will sound at any minute, with children who are afraid to sleep alone, resumed bedwetting in older children, sessions with social workers and psychologists, and more.

Wake-Up Call
Meanwhile, they are concentrating on today's protest in Tel Aviv.  "We hope that this will show those who live in the center of the country what we have been going through these last few years," one protestor told Arutz-7.  "The people of the Gush Dan area hear the news, but they have no idea what we really go through when we hear 'Color Red!'  They have no idea that we have been living through a war all this time.  We have to show them what we're going through so that they won't be surprised one day when the rockets arrive in Tel Aviv as well."

Protesters on a bridge below the Azrieli Towers.
"The Israel Police stand with Sderot" reads a sign on the car of an off-duty police officer who joined the convoy from Sderot.
IDF soldiers inside the Kiriya cheer in response to a question over the megaphone from a protester, "Who is with us?"
"Where are Olmert's kids serving," a protest placard asks rhetorically of the PM's draft-dodging family members.
(Photos: Ezra HaLevi)




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