On Saturday night, Feb. 10, the lives of Osher Twito, 8, and Rami Twito, 19, changed forever.
The two brothers had heard the Tzeva Adom rocket alert, and knowing that they had only 15 seconds to find safet, they began running to the closest bomb shelter 100m away. But there was not enough time.
As they ran for their lives, a rocket exploded in their midst.
The two brothers are now in Ashkelon’s Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer, undergoing intense surgery and treatment. Osher’s left leg had to be amputated, and doctors are now working to save his right leg.
The day after the attack, I was in Sderot doing my morning shopping in the Dahan grocery store, the events of the night before were still fresh in my mind and everybody else’s. As I waited in line, one cashier began relating to me how eight-year-old Osher would come through her aisle every morning to buy his lunch.
“He was so full of life, a hyperactive kid,” she said. “He loved to play sports — basketball and soccer.”
“[Hamas] took away his life. He will never run on a soccer field again,” another customer, a friend of the Twito family, added.
For some reason, these statements reminded me of a conversation I had at a Shabbat meal in Ra’anana that Shabbat. I was visiting with a family whose 10-year-old son’s school recently hosted a group of children from a Sderot elementary school. The mother was telling me how these Sderot children were given bags and bags of candy that were collected in a summer camp in America.
“I looked at those kids and thought just how fortunate my own children were,” said the Ra’anana mom. “The biggest problem of an 8-year-old kid in Ra’anana is if his Sega video-game works. A child in Sderot has to deal with real-life problems, often life and death moments, on a daily basis.”
And here these Sderot children were being given candy for living with rockets. The mother, not I, noted the absurdity of the situation.
Her statement regarding life for the average Sderot child, versus life for the average Ra’anana child really stuck with me, especially when I watched the video of the rocket attack on the Twito brothers. I could only feel horror watching the scene — the agony and pain of one brother being carried away on the stretcher to the ambulance as neighbors yelled and cried in the background.
I walk almost every day I’m in Sderot on the same street where the rocket hit. It is the street that Osher often ran on and a street numerous other Sderot children and adults use daily. I will continue walking on this street just as the residents of Sderot continue living here.
It will only be Osher and Rami who will no longer be able to walk and run the streets of Sderot as they once did — all because of one inexpensive rocket blast that has altered their young lives forever.