Palestinian Rockets and the Children of Sderot


Although news reports have frequently described the situation in Sderot as back to normal—with real estate having gone up 20 to 30 percent, 1,400 new homes approved for construction, and families returning to the city—behind the headlines the impact of last year’s rocket war is still hammering away at the population.
Hila Barzilai, the director of the Sderot Resilience Center (Merkaz Hosen) recently told Sderot Media Center that in the past six months following Operation Cast Lead, hundreds of Sderot children have turned to the resilience center for therapy treatment.

“These kids come to us with their parents to seek therapy for the trauma built up from years of rocket attacks,” says Barzilai. “These problems did not just begin post-Operation Cast Lead. We are talking about eight years of constant rocket attacks whose psychological effects are now emerging during this period of calm.”

Over 364 new patients arrived to the resilience center six months after Operation Cast Lead, according to Barzilai.

“We do everything possible to limit the long-lasting affects of these rocket attacks but it is a long and drawn-out process.”

The average recovery period for a child can take up to eight months or more, said Barzilai. One of the challenges of trauma patients face in the recovery process are the sporadic rocket attacks that still continue to hit Sderot and the western Negev region.

Barzilai notes in frustration that “it takes one rocket attack to destroy any progress in the patient’s therapy. The siren alert will trigger the flashbacks of terror and fear in the child or adult, which means that the therapy process has to start over again.”

The over 20 Gaza rockets fired in early January 2010, bought on a new wave of trauma patients to the center according to Barzilai, who also stated that this was the resilience center’s final year of operation due to financial issues.

Barzilai is not the only health professional in Sderot who has seen a sharp increase in the number of patients suffering from health issues during the calm.

Orna Hurwitz, the director of the Sderot Bon Tone Hearing Institute, told Sderot Media Center on Monday that hearing loss has become an ailment unique to Sderot and Gaza-border residents.

“The hearing impairments suffered by residents of Sderot are akin to the hearing loss that soldiers experience during war. The repeated blasts of the rocket explosions harm the ear drum to the point that many residents have to be treated for hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, and/or central auditory processing disorders,” says Hurwitz.

“Many of these victims do not seek out treatment for such internal injuries immediately. After a rocket attack, the first things that are treated are the physical injuries and the shock. Less noticeable are the internal injuries. Many victims therefore fail to realize that their hearing may have also been impaired.”

“It is during the calm and quiet—like this third ceasefire with Hamas—that residents are discovering that they have been injured in other ways.”

“Hearing loss is an especially sensitive subject,” said Horowitz. “It takes time for people to process that they have a hearing problem and many are embarrassed to seek help—especially the younger victims.”

The expensive cost for the treatment is another reason why Sderot residents do not get the necessary assistance. According to Horowitz, many low-income residents simply do not have the budget to purchase a hearing aid, which can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, or seek more professional care.

“In Sderot, we have over 200 residents with hearing impairments as a result of rocket explosions. Most cannot afford the treatment that they need to get better.”

Horowitz says that although the city appears to be returning to some semblance of normalcy, “the beautiful new parks and playgrounds do nothing to address the real health issues of residents.”

“Hearing is one of the five basic senses that human beings need to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Although things may look normal on the outside at this moment, there are many residents here who continue to suffer in silence,” she says.

“Hearing loss among my patients has led to loss of jobs, depression, and strained family ties. It’s a never-ending battle that I see Sderot residents struggle with in my office every day.”

Anav Silverman is the international correspondent at Sderot Media Center, SderotMedia.com, a social media organization dedicated to bringing the voices of Sderot residents to the attention of the global community.

  • Larry G.

    I just don't understand these Israelis? I'm a Jew and if I lived in a town that was under continual firing by Islamic terrorists, I'd fight fire with fire! I would seek out people who would be willing to make our own homemade rockets and I'd fire back at Gaza! But that would only be the first step, then I would start raising funds secretly with a group of people I could trust and purchase military grade shoulder fired rockets! And I would fire them off when everyone in Gaza is asleep, let's say around 3 AM; I would feel absolutely empowered to terrorize my enemies! And if people die–who cares! And I'm serious because if I lived under the constant feelings of dread, fear and think I could buy the farm any minute by the next terrorist rocket; I wouldn't care less if my actions killed my tormentors' kids! I'm a Jew, thus by definition Hamas wants me and my entire family dead solely because I choose to worship the G-d of Israel rather than bow down 5 times a day and serve a meteorite that's housed in a tent in Mecca! So under these conditions, excuse me if any leftists out there criticize me for wanting to defend myself against my mortal enemy!

    • andres de alamaya

      You took the words right out of my mouth. I would have invaded them way back when the very first rocket came from them. How long would folks in San Diego sit and suffer if Mexicans in Tijuana started firing rockets?

    • aspacia

      Larry,

      I am an infidel, hence in the same boat as you. I would probably react in a similar fashion. However, the practical side of me argues "Pay compensation, and fly those accepting the funds to the land that will accept them, and is of their choice. Those who refuse because it is a capital offense to sell to a Jew, simply expel or annihilate them, all of them, as they would destroy you, and every Jew worldwide."

      A Deist, Feminist, Goy Zionist.

      Why? Jews have been persecuted, executed, and expelled from almost every land they have settled in. They need a homeland to be free of this intolerance.

  • seels4truth

    The sad fact is that even though Sderot suffered for 8 years and thousands of rocket attacks the "World" does not accept their pain as real. The attacks are minimized and in fact trivialized by the left wing, Jew hating, pseudo-intellecuals of the World. They say the rockets are harmless because they are "home-made"; yep home-made by Hamas engineers in "civilian" homes. Israeli engineers give the World medical breakthroughs, technologicaal advances and other life-changing advances whereas the Arab engineers give the World nothing but new ways to be blown up! The left wing also says the rocket attacks are like gnats biting an elephant because so few have been killed! Really, they said that! When they launch a rocket aimed at a schoolyard the World yawns; when Israel targets a weapons cache specifically hidden in a mosque the World erupts in anger and calls it a "holocaust". Shame on the World!!!

  • Bill

    I am a Gentile living in the United States, but I wholeheartedly support not only the state of Israel but am a friend to the Jewish people as a whole. Their tolerance of Islamic terror amazes (and admittedly, even at times frustrates) me. I try to imagine the same situation here in the U.S. and I would like to think that our government would rise up quickly to protect it's people. Of course, I'm not so sure now with our current Administration, but I digress…____The Israeli government has been facing a difficult situation there in Gaza. First, it's hard to remove the threat of rocket fire from Gaza when the cowardly 'Palestinian' terrorists hide themselves among women and children. To Israel's credit she has refrained from 'carpet bombing' the place out of respect for innocent human life – unlike the terrorists in Gaza. Secondly, no matter how delicately and with great precision Israel acts against this threat the world will condemn her anyways.____Israel's tolerance of these terrorists will soon be depleted and everyone will see the IDF win a major victory over the enemies of Israel – probably this spring. ____Let the rest of the world say what it may.__Bill__

  • Apple

    The experiment should end yesterday. We know through ample evidence exactly what will happen when land is exchanged for peace. Why is the West Bank even being discussed? Take back Gaza and send the "palistinians" to Jordan to live with their people. Sooner rather than later. Do it for the children.

  • USMCSniper

    The Palestinians are a sub culture that straps munitions on their own women and children and sends them out on homicide-suicide missions to murder other innocent women and children in markets, in restuarants, and on school buses. They have forfeited their right to even exist.

  • hal barton

    Larry! Good show! Right on! Add to your wonderful description of worshiping a meteorite housed in a tent in Mecca where inferior humans may not go unless they be willing to be murdered, is this interesting fact: Muslim believe that the Koran is actually alive and IS the living, unchangeable perfection that IS God! That is why the Catholic Church has officially and formally ruled that the Muslims are just Pagans – which they are, for they worship a dead book and if you should tear a page of it they will murder you – they are idolaters – their idol is a book called the Koran – I have often wondered what the penalty for spiting on the magic stone in the tent would be – anyone know? They worship a dead book and think it is alive – what of the stone?

  • Bill

    It is such a disgrace that the world allows this to continue by tools such as the Goldstone Report. The more legitimization that is given to terrorism on the Gaza border the more legitimization is given to terrorism worldwide. Where will all the bleeding liberals be when they are running from rockets in their towns? We should really heed the warning that is being given by the Sderot Media Center here.

    A proud American friend of Israel.

  • William Smart

    Israel has been trashing Gaza at every opportunity, they did it the first time for no reason whatsoever in 1956. It's a bit late to ask "why do they hate us" now!

    • davarino

      I was going to respond to your stupid accusation but its like swatting at a knat, and whats the point.

      Its a bit like asking why the school yard bully hates the nerds. Then everyone gets excited when the nerds have had enough and fight back. I think Isreal has had enough, they have turned the other cheek to many times and the enemy does not respect them.

      I will have to say it will be funny when the surrounding nations pick a fight with Isreal again and they take more land from them. Then the cowards will cry and moan that the Isrealis took their land heheh.

  • hal barton

    dear Bill – I am just like you – The Koran is the enemy of all humankind – abortion is pure murder – but I am a liberal – I'm against the death penalty because the word "liberal" means "generous" – I''m a Catholic, so I try to be as giving as I can be even turning the other cheek if it is at all possible. But, I'm for war if the enemy is for sure going to turn my turning the other cheek into an occasion to also cut my throat. So, war with the Muslims should commence immediately . But, even though I am a liberal, no one is any more on your side than I am – I am much, much more like you than any savage (you know who I am referring to). There is room for liberals in this war against the ObamaNation of desolation (we'll take it back).

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