The city of Sderot, situated near the Gaza border, has been targeted by Hamas for years on end. During the October 7th massacre, terrorists invading the city managed to take over the Sderot police station, and Israeli forces had to demolish the building with engineering vehicles in order to eliminate them. Sderot mayor Alon Davidi gave a special interview to the Arutz Sheva - Israel National News Jerusalem Conference in New York City about how his city has reacted to the war.

‘’Without winning against Hamas nothing will change,’’ he predicted. ‘’This is not just for the residents of Sderot, the heroes of the south. For all the bombing of Gaza, we have still been targeted by more than seventy rockets over the past month. Still, residents say they could continue to suffer, if only the government would continue with the goals of the war - destroying Hamas and recovering the hostages. I think, though, that we need to change the situation in the south and north of Israel.’’

The need for a change brought Alon and his citizens to launch a public diplomacy campaign of their own as the war went on.

‘’Months after October 7th, the leadership is the same as it was before October 7th, and I have been telling that leadership that we need an offensive in Gaza every day, not only since the people were sent out of Gush Katif, but since the rocket attacks began in 2001. Instead, the order has been to stop and negotiate with Hamas. This is not the right way to deal with an enemy,’’ he said.

‘’Hamas does not care for the people of Gaza, only for destroying Israel. We, the residents of the south, have become the first line of defense of the state of Israel, and I think that if we want to see a change, we will need to control Gaza for many years to come.’’

Alon dismissed outright the reports of the US-backed ceasefire plan that would include Israel withdrawing from Gaza: “We cannot sign this deal. It would be crazy to allow it. Someone who would sign this deal cannot be allowed to be Prime Minister.”

He shared some of his personal memories of the massacre, saying, “We were going around collecting the bodies, and I realized that I knew these people, that they were my friends. We were in shock. None of us had dreamed that it would happen.’’

He gave special mention to the bravery of the Sderot police, whose battle for their station saved the rest of the city: ‘’Most of the terrorists went to try and conquer the police station. The first battles against the terrorists were not held by the IDF, but by residents of Sderot and the south in general, civilian security coordinators, and the Israel Police in Sderot and the south. Many officers were killed defending the station, but had the terrorists gone elsewhere, many hundreds of others would have been killed instead.’’

Alon concluded by addressing the unique connection between the USA and Israel. ‘’This country loves the people in Israel, and the USA supports Israel. The fact that the government here is pushing for the war to end is because people don’t understand - we can’t stop the war. This isn’t a war for Israel, it’s a war for good against bad.’’