My name is Raanan Bodzin, I am from San Diego, California and I have been studying in Jerusalem for one year now. I am currently volunteering in Sderot, Israel, one kilometer east of Gaza, at the Sderot Media Center (www.sderotmedia.com). I am writing to help spread awareness to the Jews of the world about the important and disastrous situation facing the Jewish civilians of Sderot. What happens here is a microcosm of how the world can and will react to violence against Jews around the world.
For the past seven years Israelis from this peaceful community have lived under a constant threat of death and injury. Since 2001, there have been over 7,000 rockets that have landed amongst the people of Sderot.
Just yesterday, I visited the world’s first “rocket resistant” children’s playground, where there is a caterpillar-shaped bomb shelter circling the playground, which the children can run to for safety. The purpose of the caterpillar design, as opposed to a regular design, is to make the playground seem as normal as possible for the children.
I personally experienced running for cover yesterday when the abrupt sirens of “Tseva Adom” (Color Red) sounded. It was a frantic sprint to make it to a bomb shelter within 15 seconds.
Since the ceasefire began June 19, there has been a substantial decrease in the volume of rocket fire and mortar shelling at Israeli population centers. However Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations are taking advantage of the lull in the fighting to build up their military capabilities, which has included: intensive training, smuggling arms and ammunition, expanding and developing independently-manufactured weapons and ammunition, and continuing the construction of the underground tunnel network (The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, August 21). According to Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin, “four tons of explosives, as well as 50 anti-tank missiles and dozens of light arms, had been smuggled into the Gaza Strip since the cease-fire went into effect (JPost July 27).”
It is hard to believe this is the situation of modern day Israel. These attacks take place almost everyday and little is being done to alleviate the situation. Is this any way to live? A strange difference between living in the U.S. and Sderot involves the simple process of taking a shower. For mothers in Sderot it is a major undertaking that requires her to prepare her children to run to shelter on their own.
Rabbi Noach Weinberg of Aish HaTorah asks three critical questions that every Jew should ask him/herself:
• Can you think of one nation in the whole world that would have a city bombed for one day, that wouldn’t go to war to protect their citizens?
• Do you know one nation in the whole world that would be bombed for one day, and if they went to war, wouldn’t have full international backing?
• Can you think of one nation in the whole world that would be bombed for even one day that would continue to give the bombers fuel to bomb us, money to buy bombs, humanitarian aid, electricity, water?
In effect, the Sderot situation represents the frontline of the Jewish people and our continued existence as a nation. When we have our very own brothers and sisters being threatened on a daily basis, and we remain largely apathetic to the cause, we are doing a tremendous injustice to our own people and our future. Through inaction, we are ignoring the actions of the terrorists and the world media. We, therefore, must stand against this threat as one people and resist the growing trend that is leading Israel to further destruction. Jews want nothing more than to live in peace, and we represent this idea more than any other nation by being the only nation in the entire history of the world that is willing to exchange its land, its own territorial integrity for peace.