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Life in Sderot

Life in Sderot

At home with her two children, Tami Jorno’s home was directly hit by a Hamas rocket.


Parents living in Sderot need to constantly ask themselves this dreaded question: if there is an incoming rocket and my kids are in separate parts of the house, how do I get all of them to the bomb shelter in 15 seconds?

The question became very real for Tami Jorno two weeks ago. With her husband away at work, the Code red siren went off. She had 15 seconds to get herself and her two children to safety. She scooped up her 5-year old daughter who was next to her in the kitchen and ran. Her 4-year-old son was in the living room. With no time to spare, she yelled at him to run. Although Sderot children are taught from a young age to run to bomb shelters during sirens, Tami says her children often do not hear the siren when they watch television.

The boy heard his mother’s call and ran to the shelter. Just in the nick of time.

A rocket scored a direct hit on their home, destroying everything except the protected room that sheltered Tami and her two kids.

A rocket scored a direct hit on their home, destroying everything except the protected room that sheltered Tami and her two kids.

This occurred recently, in July 2014. But Sderot has been experiencing it for over a decade. Since 2005, Sderot has been the target of over 9000 rockets.

In this latest round of fighting, most of Israel has experienced what it’s like to live under the threat of rockets. Sderot, yet again, has been the most unfortunate. A factory and the Jornos’ home have been destroyed.

The people of Sderot have seen the situation slowly escalate over the years. Hamas has slowly increased its attacks, and the rockets are now reaching further densely populated cities in the North.

Naom Bedein of the Sderot Media Center has been documenting the rocket fire in Sderot since November 2006. He has witnessed Sderot becoming what he calls “the bomb shelter capital of the world,” with 6000 bomb shelters having been erected.

While the shelters have been life savers, Sderot residents say they are not the solution. Its proximity to Gaza makes it non-protectable by the Iron Dome missile defense system it. As a result, Hamas’ most devastating hits have been in Sderot.

On June 28, Saturday evening at 8 pm, the Denber Paint and Coating factory in Sderot was hit and destroyed. The rockets produced flames that burnt down the factory.

Nobody was present at the factory that night. According to Denber’s owner, Baruch Kogan, two workers in the neighboring factory were injured in the process of running for shelter in the dark.

Kogan, a father of three and grandfather of five, lives in Rishon LeTzion, a suburb of Tel Aviv. He says he moved his factory to Sderot from Ofakim, because a majority of his workers lived in Sderot. Despite the threat to his investment, he is already rebuilding the factory in Sderot. “We are rebuilding and we are staying here. We are not afraid of the missiles, and we are not going anywhere.”

The resilience of the people of Sderot is a source of pride, as much as their fear is a source of pain. Each of them fights back in their own way.

All want quiet restored permanently. “Every time Israel performed this kind of operation, we got quiet for a few years, and then they shoot again,” said Kogan. “We hope that this operation in Gaza will finish it for good.”

In this last round of terrorism, two Israelis have been killed—one elderly lady in Haifa while seeking shelter, and one volunteer on the Gaza border. Israelis are optimistic and resilient. They are staying safe, taking precautions, but managing to go about their daily lives.

At the same time, Hamas’ rocket range is increasing, and their frequency shows no signs of slowing down. While the Iron Dome system and shelters protect life (with the Almighty’s help), they do not vanquish fear, anxiety, or trauma. Moreover, Israelis fear it is a matter of time before a rocket pierces through the nation’s defenses.

On Tuesday, Israel agreed to an Egyptian moderated cease-fire. Hamas did not, and hundreds of rockets continue to fly in to Israeli territory.

Kogan told that he considers the cease fire idea a “joke.” He believes “you cannot make an agreement with murderers.”

Israelis, especially residents of the South, are looking for answers and yearning for peace.


July 16, 2014

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 7

(6) Mom in Israel, July 20, 2014 8:21 AM

*3898 Bayit Cham's Hotline for traumatized children in Israel

Important information to share with Israeli friends and family: Bayit Cham, the mental health experts in Israel, opened an emergency wartime hotline manned by psychologists and social workers to help children and their parents in Israel handle fear and trauma. The phone number is *3898.

(5) Anonymous, July 19, 2014 7:43 PM

Parent should buy and wear a whistle. Teach the children that certain blasts mean certain things. Teach children to listen for it even if watching television.

(4) Yehudith Shraga, July 18, 2014 1:38 AM

“We are rebuilding and we are staying here"

There're no words to express my respect to all the citizens on this Brave City.Their Love and Faith in the Land of Israel is outstanding, their courage to live there and to grow their children is beyond any description. We own all our possible efforts in support for the establishing the CONSTANT PEACE in this Honorable City, because these are the people who add to the Merit of the people of Israel in the Eyes of G-d each and every day.
We pray and hope that the G-d will allow our Army to free this Great City as well as all the Israel from the offensive attacks of the groups of those who look to destroy the state of Israel and to kill Israeli citizens.
We pray for each and every soldier to come home safe. Let the G-d help them destroy all the military bases of Hamas, let the world see their usage of schools, hospitals and mosques for the storage and landing the rockets towards the citizens of Israel, Let the merit of Ishamel, if there is any left, come to the end and the Days of Mashi'akh come as soon as possible.Let's us all improve our ways, in the merit of the citizens of Israel and our soldiers through increase in our correction through Torah and Mitzvot, through our dedication to restore and rebuild our Land of Israel, let us do all the efforts to come closer to our Creator, because One of His Holy Names is Shalom and the closer we are to Him, the closer we are to the Peace.
Each Netzotz (spark) of Holiness matters, be it living in the places of Israel most attacked by the occupants of our Land, be it serving in the Army and risking the Life right now, Life, which is the most precious Gift of the G-d to us, be it our study of Torah, prayers and performing Mitzvot, be it coming to Israel to support Her in the difficult times, all the efforts count!
We MUST overcome any difficulties and ascend to the spiritual level, which knows no war, which is the world of Revelation of the Divine Presence dwelling between us.

(3) Dennis white, July 17, 2014 5:26 PM

Remembering Sderot

I was in Sderot in 2002. I was there the morning that a grandparent and child were killed while walking to school. It is 2014, when will Israel alone put this terror to an End...?

(2) Irene, July 17, 2014 5:13 PM

It's time to take the Land of Israel back from Hamas

I really hope that the Almighty will make sure the Jews get back ALL of the land that He gave to the Jewish People, and that He don't let the Jews stop until the land is liberated from those that don't want to live peacefully together With the Jews.

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