Director, Regional News Service for Sderot and the Western Negev Sderot Information Center for the Western Negev Ltd. 12 Rakefet Street Sderot, Israel www.SderotMedia.co.il Messages: 03 636 4017

A SABBATH UNDER FIRE IN SDEROT. AND ITS AFTERMATH.

On Saturday night the 9th of February, two brothers 19 and 8 year old, Rami and Osher Twito, borrowed their mother’s credit card to go to the Sderot ATM machine to buy after shave lotion as a birthday present for their father.

Within moments, they were lying next to each other in a pool of blood on a Sderot side walk.

Pieces of their legs scattered on the street. One of Osher’s legs was immediately severed. Osher’s second leg was shattered. Rami and Osher were running for their lives after they heard the RED COLOR siren. They didn’t have enough time to run for the shelter which was 100 meters away, knowing that they only had 15 seconds until the kassam missile would explode.

Tens of Sderots residents ran to help the boys. Then another siren went off, and they all ran for the shelter once again. A few minutes later, a few residents started to scream to the crowd:

” Let’s go block the streets!!” They started chanted: We want a military solution! We want the army to do what’s right and to fight the enemy!”

There was utter despair on the people’s faces – helplessness of the fathers and mothers carrying their children.

What a Sabbath in Sderot, with 40 missile attacks fired at Sderot.

Thinking about Friday night. Sitting at a Sabbath dinner with the Gad Family. Hava Gad is the Sderot Parents Association spokeswoman A siren was fired while the soup was being served.

The whole family took cover in their hall way, which is the safest place in the house.

The missile fell across the street. A boom rocked the house. Hava collapsed. Tzfania her husband, a reserve military officer, leaned over Hava, calming her down. Their 9 year old son- Yanai played his own role supporting with his mother, calming her down,

A few seconds later another explosion. And then another one… It quiets down and everyone returned to the Sabbath table

And then another missile attack. Tsfania opened the back door for their puppy to hide for shelter in their hall way.

Hava, bent over eve more than before, said that she is going to throw up. Tsfania holds her tight

Yanai, once again comforting his mother, mentions, matter of factly, that on Friday morning a missile exploded in the soccer field next to their school, and that they were lucky that they weren’t allowed to go out, for security reasons…

As the meal finished, the children played games on the floor, and then, an enormous explosion…

This time, Hava screamed and collapsed on the floor, shivering… Tsfania went to the other room to get her a pill, and asked her if he should call an ambulance to evacuate her.

Yaani again hugged and kissed her, telling her that it fell a blocks away from here and that there is nothing to worry about… Yaani looked up and said that they should learn medicine in school, for cases like these… A fourth grader who sees himself as a paramedic at the age of nine.

Walking the streets of Sderot on the Sabbath afternoon, to get a feeling about what people are going through, a few brave children went out to play in the sunny beautiful day.

Every group of children had something had something to do with the rocket reality

A four year old, mumbling while playing next to the synagogue- ‘Tseva Adom, Tseva Adom’ “RED COLOR RED COLOR”…

And then there was the nearby Sderot Ethiopian community, where children were arguing with each other, debating, which school was hit more by the rockets… Children were playing with toys, throwing them up to the air, and yelling- “A Kassam!” and then make a noise of an explosion…

Watching these children, you think of the recent statement from Dr Roni Beger from Natal Trauma Treatment Center, that anywhere between 70%- 94% of the children in Sderot now suffer from PTS- Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms.

Dr. Adrianna Katz, head of the Sderot Mental Health Center, notes that most of these Children are going to be affected for life…

And then there was the perspective of the experts –

Dr. Reuven Ehrlich, the head of Intelligence and Terror Information Center, visited Sderot last week and reported that over 8,000 missile attacks had occurred over the past seven years

Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, last Tuesday requested ten minutes of air time on the Voice of Israel Radio newsreel, where he demanded that the Israeli army kill the terrorists who give the orders to fire the missiles…not only the missile launchers. In other words, to kill Gaza’s political leaders who meet every Saturday afternoon for their weekly meeting, where they decide where and when to terrorize Jews.

For some reason, HaNegbi’s suggestion has not been picked up.

At the same,time, at least 800 homes here in Sderot have no protected rooms where someone can take cover during a missile attack. Prime Minister Olmert has vetoed the offer of a private philanthropist to fund to install these protected rooms. Why? Olmert’s office does not answer as to why he places 800 families in a life threatening situation in their own homes

Yet the unkindest cut of all came from Washington.

On Thursday, the US State Department issued a strong statement to warn Israel to show concern for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. A call placed on Friday to the US embassy to ask whether the US State Department would issue a statement about the humanitarian crisis in Sderot and the Western Negev went unanswered.

This week, not one Jewish group and not one human rights organization issued a single statement of protest or horror about our city under siege.

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Noam Bedein is a director of the Sderot Media Center. It is a media advocacy center which portrays the human face of Sderot and southern Israel under siege, to the international media and public. Noam, a native of Tzfat, grew up in Efrat, Israel. After finishing the Beit El Yeshiva High School, Noam learned at a pre-Army training program in the Jordan Valley and then served for three years as an IDF sergeant for an artillery scout unit along the Lebanese border. After the army, Noam served as an emissary for The Jewish Agency in Boston, Massachusetts and then traveled for a year in the Far East.

Upon his return to Israel, Noam relocated to Sderot and pioneered the “Sderot Media Center for the Western Negev Ltd", which has spawned the Sderot Media Center. In this position, Noam is a photojournalist, lecturer and gives briefings to foreign government officials, embassies, foreign press and student groups from around the world.

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