web analytics
May 5, 2015 / 16 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Strategic Folly And Shame: Personal Reflections On A Visit To Sderot


With Hamas now fully in control of Gaza, freely running guns and missiles through the Egyptian border (negating the need for tunnels), the missile barrages on southern Israel can be expected to increase.

Close to six months of Israeli restraint in the face of these attacks amounts to both a strategic folly of the highest order and a deep source of shame. Folly, because Israel has allowed a city of twenty-four thousand people to wither away and empty out under enemy fire. Shame, because Israel has left the forlorn people of Sderot, the most destitute, downtrodden, and drained citizens of Israel in normal times, to take the hit.

All the praise for Israeli “self-discipline” and “resilience” in the face of the missile attacks is dangerous and unfounded blather, predicated on a lie. The disadvantaged people of Sderot are not resilient. They’re just stuck. They have been forgotten by Israeli society; abandoned to the gangs of the so-called Palestinian Authority. That is an unforgivable social (as well as a political-military) sin that should shake Israelis to the very fiber of their souls.

I recently spent a day in Sderot, visiting families to evaluate and catalogue their needs for the Lev Ehad volunteer association. While ten Kassam missiles fell in and around Sderot that week, walking out on the streets was not scary. The bone-chilling part was inside Sderot’s homes. Here, I discovered shame and suffering that runs far deeper than the political-security challenge coming from Gaza.

Olga (not her real name) is destitute. Her mentally ill ex-husband left her with enormous black-market debts, she has bouts of depression along with heart trouble, and her daughter has chronic and severe asthma that has led to lengthy hospitalizations. Loan sharks broke her front door two years ago – it still doesn’t close. The water and electricity have been shut off a few times. She lost a brother to Chechen rebels back in the Commonwealth of Independent States, where her kids would sleep under her bed during nighttime mortar attacks.

A Kassam missile landed in her daughter’s Sderot schoolyard during class, and the eight year old is traumatized. She won’t leave her mother’s side or return to school. Once again, she sleeps under her mother’s bed. “Just like Chechnya,” says Olga.

Both mother and daughter have been diagnosed with clinical post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Prior to the arrival of my friend Dr. Mordechai and I, no one from central Israel or from the Jewish Diaspora had spoken to them.

Similar stories were heard in other homes. Rachamim has a disability that prevents him from working, but his understanding of the situation is keen. “We are imprisoned at home by fear of the missiles,” he says. “It’s like having a guy coming at you from behind with a knife. You’re constantly looking over your shoulder.” His wife will not let the kids walk to school, and Rachamim’s social worker won’t travel from Beersheba to Sderot in order to treat him.

Sderot is tragedy upon tragedy. The rockets of Hamas are a layer of misery piled atop the misfortune and deprivation that already was the lot of many residents. They are truly the forgotten people of Israel, now more than ever.

Echoes of Amalek reverberated in me as I drove back to civilized, privileged, central Israel: “(He) smote the hindmost of you, all that were feeble in your rear, the faint and weary” (Deuteronomy 25:18). And I wonder: where is our shame?

The ugly truth is that Israel is not mobilized to really defend or significantly assist Sderot because its residents are third-class Israelis at best.

Had it been the upwardly mobile, well-connected people of Ramat Hasharon, Kochav Yair or Tel Aviv who’d been targeted by Hamas for months of unremitting bombardment, would Israel be doing so little? IDF tanks would be rolling into Riyadh if necessary to halt the bombing – and every government ministry, corporation, postal clerk, human rights, gay rights and animal rights organization would be marshaled to lend a helping hand to the distressed people of Herzliya or Caesarea.

Fortunately, Israel’s naked shame is being covered up by the dozens of idealistic youth from across the country now volunteering in Sderot. The day after receiving my visit report, they went to fix Olga’s front door and do schoolwork with her daughter. They also brought candies and chocolate, along with medication, for Olga from a non-profit dispensary. The electricity bill was paid. They drove Rachamim’s frightened teenager to and from school. In the evening – in fact, every evening – they march through the city streets singing and dancing, spreading cheer and dispelling fear.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Strategic Folly And Shame: Personal Reflections On A Visit To Sderot

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tour guide Yehuda Glick (right) leading a group on Temple Mount.
Court Allows Glick on Temple Mount – without Cell Phone
Latest Indepth Stories
Rioters smash window of police car in Baltimore.

I stated with clarity in simple terms, “Jews don’t have gangs.”

Nathan Lewin

FBI’s undercover agents contacted ORA (Org. for the Resolution of Agunot pretending to be an agunah.

Discovery of Jewish artifacts at base of Temple Mount
dating to period before creation of Islam

Israel promotes coexistence and peace, providing freedom for all religions on the Temple Mount.

Dollars

The Jewish vote won’t impact polls as much as it will the coffers of candidates and their Super PACs

Iran stands unopposed by the “international community” and is racing to assert regional dominance.

If some Israeli cops got a Jewish education & learned to love Jews, Israel would be a better place

No where in the world is there the level of intervention by foreign countries as exists in Israel.

The Ravens’ Ray Lewis screamed that violence is never the answer.” Unfortunately, he is wrong.

Obama is the latest incarnation of our ancient enemies who arise every generation with a new face

Why do Jews, then, sometimes feel more intensely about Polish anti-Semitism than they do about German anti-Semitism?

The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.

Jews thank Hashem at every step. We thank Him for our most basic physical existence. We thank Hashem for every step, for every breath, for every aspect of our elevation from the dust.

More Articles from David M. Weinberg
Sheldon Adelson

Liberal pundits have coined a new saw: Sheldon Adelson and the newspaper he owns, Israel Hayom, are primarily responsible for the collapse of many Israeli media outlets, and this endangers Israeli democracy.

With Hamas now fully in control of Gaza, freely running guns and missiles through the Egyptian border (negating the need for tunnels), the missile barrages on southern Israel can be expected to increase.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/strategic-folly-and-shame-personal-reflections-on-a-visit-to-sderot/2007/07/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: