Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheba....All major southern Israel cities are again under a heavy rocket offensive from Hamas-controlled Gaza. There are Jewish dead, babies wounded, schools and synagogues destroyed, cities and towns terrorized. The latest wave of rockets took place only last week. But Israel as the most heavily bombed nation in the world never makes the headlines. Why?
Sderot represents the siege on the Jewish people and the resistance of Israel, but it also reveals the rest of the world’s indifference to the genocidal hatred that is jihadism.
12,000 Palestinian rockets have fallen on Sderot and Ashkelon in the last ten years. The sense of death has pervaded the streets, the schools, the houses and the local clinic, where a wonderful and brave Romanian-born psychiatrist, Adriana Katz, takes care of these victims.
“There are people who take the taxi to reach our clinic, in case the alarm will sound,” Dr. Katz told me. “Many people lost hearing ability because they live close to the alarm. There are even those people who hear the alarm even when it’s silent. The heart is crying.” But the world is deaf. And the Western media is mute.
There is only one historical precedent of a modern democracy besieged under rocket attacks.
During the afternoon of Sept. 7, 1940, 348 Nazi bombers appeared over London. For the next 57 days, the city was bombed day and night. Fires consumed portions of the city. Residents sought shelter wherever they could find it -- many fleeing to the underground that sheltered as many as 177,000 people during the night.
However, there is a big difference between the two situations: while the West backed the British resistance against the Nazi monster, Israel is alone in fighting a battle for all of us. And Sderot’s fate has become the fate of the whole of Israel.
Israeli reports indicate that warning time for a rocket attack on the greater Tel Aviv area has declined from two minutes to 90 seconds. From Gaza, a couple of years ago, the Islamic terrorists were able to strike at most of Sderot, which is just 3 kilometres from the Gaza Strip. Then they reached Ashkelon (20 km), Beersheba (40 km) and Ashdod (31 km), also hitting the outskirts of Rehovot (42) and Rishon Lezion (58 km). The Greater Tel Aviv area, where a quarter of the entire Israeli population lives, is the target of the next war. Nobody knows if and when it will begin.
There are estimated to be 200,000 missiles pointed at the country today. Tel Aviv could soon face Iran’s “judgment day.”
Many security drills are termed “NBC,” meaning nuclear, biological and chemical threats. In 1993, a Russian report indicated that Iran’s military industries were manufacturing two types of chemical weapons: mustard gas and the nerve agent Sarin. In addition to the chemical weapons industry, the report said “it is possible to speak confidently of the presence of a military-applied biological program.”
Syria has also produced hundreds of tons of chemical weapons and bombs filled with sarin and another lethal gas, VX. The idea is that botulism, anthrax and other lethal pathogens can be used in conjunction with explosives.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry recently gave the embassies a list of bunkers available for diplomats. Only Tel Aviv has as many as 240 bunkers. The Jerusalem railway station can accommodate 5,000 people. Even theaters, like Habima in Tel Aviv, can host thousands of people.
A Home Front Command postcard, delivered to Israeli citizens, divides the country into six regions, from the Negev to the Golan. Each region has different times of reaction in case of attack. If you live along the Gaza Strip, you have 20 seconds to reach shelter. In Jerusalem, it’s three minutes. But if you live close to Lebanon or Syria, the color red means that, unless you are already in a bunker, you just have to wait for the rocket.
Meanwhile, the southern population continues to pay the highest price.
70% of Israeli children in the Negev show symptoms of trauma, while thousands of children carry physical disabilities from Palestinian bombs.
There are children who want to constantly stay inside the bunkers, or in the secured rooms of their homes. There are children who don’t get out of bed anymore. Many people had their hearing impaired because they live close to the siren.
Londoners, who had endured the blitz stoically, with British aplomb and courage, then had more than 1,200 V-1 bombs rain down on them from the skies, followed later by hundreds of larger V-2 missiles that gave no warning. The people of Israel are equally valiant, going about their daily lives knowing that killers might explode a bomb or rocket in any public place at any time.
Some of Sderot’s residents have moved to Netivot and Ashkelon in recent years, renting or purchasing apartments there, only to discover that the rockets continue to chase them. Now a large part of Israel is living much as those in Sderot do—running for shelter and fearing for their lives.
The Arabs refer to Sderot and Ashkelon as “settlements” and see no difference between these pre-1967 towns and settlements like Beit El, Elqana and Yitzhar. Hamas’ founder, Ahmed Yassin, was born in the village of Jorat Askalan, near Ashkelon, and was uprooted to Gaza in 1948. Abdel Aziz Rantisi, one of the six founding members of Hamas, was born in Yibneh, near Ashkelon, and moved with his family in the Gaza Strip. Hamas today fires on Sderot and Ashkelon because the Islamists will never give up on their "the right to return."
The story of the southern Israeli towns tell us the parable of Western civilization. This is the only Western population forced to live with their eyes turned to heaven. Last winter, the terrorists from Gaza launched phosphorous shells on Israeli civilians. These are chemical weapons are able to burn the human skin. International newspapers and television stations didn’t report the news. The burned skin of the Jews has never interested the West. Since the year of the founding of the state, more than 60,000 rockets have fallen on Israel. How many media ever reported on this number?
Israel will rise and fall with Sderot. This is the Israeli Guernica that will never have its own Picasso. In 1937 the Basque town was the premature victim of the savage and merciless Nazi Blitzkrieg that was to sweep Europe. Sderot is the tiny symbol of Western civilization plunging into the very heart of the Dar al-Islam.
They want to destroy Sderot because they want to destroy all of us.
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