As I type away, I brace myself for the Red Color Alert siren. Here in Sderot, we have been hearing the sirens and rocket explosions all day, from early (Monday) morning until now in the evening.
Every time I hear the rocket explosion, I begin thinking what home will be hit this time, what family will be displaced by the rocket fire, who is going to be hospitalized for shock and injury…
If you speak to a Sderot mother at the point of the siren sounding, she is thinking if her kids are safe, did they make it to a shelter on time…children at school are thinking the same things about their parents.
It’s no wonder that cellphone bills are unusually high here among residents. Parents are constantly calling their kids, and vice versa, to make sure that everyone remained safe and unharmed after a rocket is fired.
This morning I hitch-hiked from the Nir Am junction to Sderot. As I was waiting for a ride into a town, I saw ambulance racing by. First thought that crossed my mind was that perhaps a rocket had fallen, without the siren going off.
Finally, a car stops and the driver, Rinat, asks me if I had heard the siren go off, as we make our way to Sderot. I reply that I had not, and Rinat breathes a sigh relief.
It’s been a terrible morning she tells me. “I wake up and first thing I hear is the Tzeva Adom and I am back in the bomb shelter, starting the morning routine.”
As I put my seatbelt, something automatic that you do when you enter a car in any other area of the world, Rinat reminds me not to. Only in Sderot, is the seatbelt law not enforced. As Rinat says, “you need those spare seconds to make it to a bomb shelter.” The seatbelt only delays those crucial moments during your escape to safety.
I ask Rinat if she plans to move away. She replies very adamantly that she see herself living only in Sderot.
“I was born here, raised here, and I will raise my children here, with G-d’s help,” says Rinat. “Sderot is my home.”
A typical morning conversation in a very abnormal situation.
The question that comes to my mind as I type is the following. How long will the state of Israel and the international community allow this absurd reality to continue, as Sderot residents find ways to silently cope with this neverending Palestinian rocket terror?