From infancy, and for the past 18 years, life, was a cycle of rocket attacks and out-right war; as they head into adulthood, teens are sure calm will continue to elude the area.
It was in 2001. Israel had not yet withdrawn from Gaza but a new reality was forming.
At first they were short range mortar shells fired into Sderot and farming settlements close by. Most of them caused little or no damage. But as time went on, the frequency of the shelling increased and their accuracy improved claiming lives of civilians.
Israel embarked on three rounds of military operations including massive shelling and troop incursions against the Hamas controlled enclave.
The Iron dome missile defense system was developed in response to the ongoing attacks but the rounds of fighting and intermittent shelling became routine
The rocket generation was born into a reality of shelling, sirens and frequent wars. Now, heading into adulthood, we heard nine of them speak out.
Some say they will not raise their own kids under such conditions, others say they plan to stay in the area when they grow up. Most say the Israeli government does not do enough to deal with the ongoing security situation but all agree their lives close to the border, caused them to grow up too quickly.
Shaked wolk: ‘We grew up differently. From a young age you have to look out for yourself, be aware of the nearest bomb shelter and how quickly you can take cover, this is character building’.
Noya Primer: ‘I doubt I will raise my children in this way. I wouldn’t want them to have to run the shelter in the middle of the night’.
There is not unanimous agreement about what should be done, some think Hamas must be destroyed, others hope for a political solution that will not include more fighting, but these nine teens share a sense of despair, saying: ‘That’s just the way it is’ or ‘nothing can be done’.
Lior Vinograd-Peled: ‘It’s all about politics. The government is just fine with us being here to take the heat. We here are suffering but no one cares.
Emily Novachov: ‘No one in Sderot believes the politicians. We are just used to things as they are. If things don’t change, I will not stay here.
Ofer Weiss who does not want to leave concludes: ‘I guess until the missiles reach Tel Aviv, nothing will change’.