After a relatively quiet month, we were reminded once again over the weekend of the harsh realities of life in Israel. Instead of welcoming in a restful Shabbat, residents of the southern town of Sderot were hit by a barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip on Friday. Eight of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome, another rocket landed in open space, but one rocket blew up on the street at the entrance to an apartment building.
Thankfully, the families had escaped to their bomb shelters in time so that no one was injured. Damage to the road was substantial. A car parked in front of the entrance was riddled with the rocket’s shrapnel. One cannot imagine what would have happened if someone had been walking by at the moment of impact.
But ultimately, the barrage didn’t garner as much attention as one might expect, given that rockets exploding in the south of our country is nothing new, and we are almost always on alert. As usual, after any rocket attack, there was a response from the Israeli army, which blamed Hamas and attacked several of their facilities in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has been responsible for the ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip since the terror organization seized control of the coastal enclave in 2007.
Gaza reported that one person was killed and three others injured in the Israeli reprisals. Hamas again accused Israel of being responsible for the escalation of violence that “endangers the lives of innocent civilians.” According to a statement by the terrorist organization, “Israel will be held responsible for their actions.”
To be on the safe side, the Iron Dome defense systems have been put on full alert in preparation for further missile attacks.
Once again the foreign press portrayed Israel as the aggressor even though Israel was merely defending itself against these and future rocket attacks. “Israel is bombing dozens of targets in the Palestinian Territory,” reported the German site t-online.de, for example. The reason for the Israeli strike on Gaza could only be found deep into the fine print of the article.
But this is nothing new. It is as though this is just another weekend happening in the Holy Land that we have become, for better or for worse, used to. We have our bomb shelters and the Iron Dome, so we can go back to our everyday lives on Sunday morning.
Or can we?
The local daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported today on the children of Sderot who know no other life than that of air raid sirens, rocket explosions and the sound of retaliating Israeli aircraft. A photo of one 5-year-old Israeli girl cowering on the floor of her house quickly went viral. “This is just the way things are,” the girl’s mother told the newspaper.
The residents of Sderot, where this child and many others live under constant fear, demand a solution to the threat of violence from Gaza. There is also rising criticism from within the ranks of the Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Gideon Sa’ar, who sees himself as a possible successor to Netanyahu, wrote on Twitter that there must be a much more forceful and targeted response to the attack on Sderot. “Israel’s goal should be the dismantling of Hamas’s military infrastructure and Islamic jihad in Gaza. This is one of the significant reasons why it is necessary to end the political crisis as soon as possible and establish a broad national unity government,” the minister said.