When the president of the United States spoke yesterday at the UN
about the girl from Sderot who shuts her eyes in fear that a rocket might
kill her, he probably was referring to Shavit Amar, aged 15, a girl he
met in the course of his visit to the town ravaged by Qassam rockets last year.

In July 2008, in the midst of his presidential election campaign, the
Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, came to Israel for a visit. In the
course of a tour of Sderot Obama stopped in at the Amar family’s house,
which was destroyed by a rocket strike a number of months beforehand.
“He asked me what we felt,” recounted Shavit. “I explained to him that
it was very hard for us, that I can’t sleep at night and that I pray
that this situation will be over already. I got the feeling that Obama
was moved by what I said.”

Obama in Sderot (Photo:Rick Burres)

The Amars still remember how Obama asked at the end of the meeting
for Pinhas, the father of the family, to bless him so that he would be
elected president. “He promised me that if he were elected he would
invite us to visit him in the White House,” said the mother of the
family, Aliza. “He still hasn’t spoken with us since then. We’re waiting
for him.”

No one in the Amar household watched Obama’s speech on television
yesterday. They were surprised to hear from a Yedioth Ahronoth reporter
that the president of the United States had chosen to cite the “girl
from Sderot” who had a hard time falling asleep at night because of the
terror of the Qassam rockets. “It’s very moving,” said Shavit. “I never
expected Obama to remember what I said to him such a long time ago.”


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