Jerusalem – On Tuesday evening, around 9:30 p.m., two missiles were fired from northern Gaza at the Israeli town of Sderot.

One rocket hit the Sderot home of Yevgenia and Mikhail Laratski. Yevgenia had gone upstairs and was preparing to get into bed. When the alarm sounded, she hurried back down to take shelter under the stairs.

The rocket struck the top floor, causing havoc in the bedroom.

“I had just gone upstairs to get ready for bed, when I heard the red color alert,” Yevgenia told The Bulletin. “I started running downstairs, because that’s where we hide during missile attacks. Suddenly, I heard a very loud boom. The place was full of dust and smoke and we realized that our house had been hit. I don’t want to think about what would have happened if I had gone to bed a few seconds earlier.”

Mikhail and Yevgenia Laratski, emigrated from Belarus in the former U.S.S.R. 17 years ago. Their daughter, who lives next door with her husband, was also home with her daughters at the time.

The families, including the grandparents and grandchildren, were standing inches away from the rocket as it landed through the side of the home into the bedroom, right above a gas tank.

The rocket was packed with pieces of shrapnel and tiny bits of metal. Had the rocket exploded, as many Kassam rockets do, it would have caused much greater damage to the second floor of the Laratskis’ home.

Meanwhile, the bedroom of the home is full of rubble and debris, with a wide gaping hole for a window where the rocket struck. Dust and dirt cover much of the floor outside the bedroom.

“We don’t even have running water right now to begin the cleaning,” said Mikhail. “The rocket damaged the water system and no one has been able to fix the boiler yet.”

The Laratskis’ granddaughters, age 10 and 15, are still in shock from the attack.

Yevgenia and Mikhail’s daughter explains that a psychologist was supposed to come this morning to speak with her daughters, ages 10 and 15, but she never showed up.

“The girls could not sleep all night,” said the mother. “They kept waiting for the next siren alert, for the next boom.”

The mother took the girls to the Sderot Trauma Center after the attack. She works as a nurse at a local hospital and was supposed to work this morning.

“I took the day off,” she says. “My girls need me now more than ever. They have been traumatized enough with the daily sirens and rocket explosions, and now this.”

The Laratskis’ home, like many others in Sderot, is not fortified and has no concrete room or other protected area. Last week, the Israel High Court of Justice ruled against a petition from Sderot residents whose homes are not protected. They asked that the government of Israel be required to construct protected rooms in the homes of Sderot that were built in the 1950s without protected rooms. However, spokespeople of the government of Israel told The Bulletin that they “do not want to create a precedent, since other cities may also come under attack in the future.”

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.