Jerusalem – When President-elect Barack Obama visited Sderot this past July, he left a lasting impression on Sderot resident Pinchas Amar.

“He was friendly and charismatic and showed genuine concern about the rocket situation,” said Mr. Amar. His home was partially destroyed when a Palestinian rocket exploded over his kitchen in Dec. 2007.

In a press conference held in Sderot during Mr. Obama’s visit, Mr. Obama said he did not believe that any country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on the heads of its citizens.

“The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing,” said Mr. Obama.

Mr. Amar remembers Mr. Obama’s words very clearly.


In a press conference at the Amars’ home, following Mr. Obama’s victory, Mr. Amar said Mr. Obama’s visit to Sderot had given him hope.

“Obama told me personally that he wants the Qassams to stop,” he said.

Mr. Obama had also said, during his visit to Sderot, the U.S. would always stand by the people of Israel.

“The State of Israel faces determined enemies who seek its destruction,” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Obama furthermore promised to share the story of Sderot with his fellow Americans.

“I will work from the moment that I return to America, to tell the story of Sderot and to make sure that the good people who live here are enjoying a future of peace and security and hope,” he said.

A few hours after the press conference was held in Mr. Amar’s home, where he expressed his hope in the new U.S. president, two more Qassam rockets were fired at Sderot from Gaza in the evening.

Even with the hope that the new American president inspires in the people of Sderot, residents are not taking any chances.

As construction continues on Mr. Amar’s new home, he hopes President-elect Obama will follow up on his promise to invite him to his new home on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“President Obama stood right here in my house when I blessed him on a successful campaign to the presidency,” Mr. Pinchas said. “Obama smiled and told me that if he did become president, I would be among his first guests to the White House. I hope he doesn’t forget that promise or the people of Sderot in our difficult times ahead.”

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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: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.