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.
â€¨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.”