Friday, February 29, 2008

Visit Sderot: Zionism reborn

The Los Angeles Jewish community has been forced this week to take notice of the daily rocket attacks that for the past seven years have been visited upon Sderot and the surrounding kibbutzim and moshavim. The Live for Sderot concert attracted more than 2,000 Tuesday night, and 10 children from the western Negev have been sharing their stories at LA college campuses and high schools.

Still, it's difficult to grasp the precariousness of life along the Gaza border unless you visit. After I spent two days there last summer, my perspective changed dramatically. Starting today, an Israeli travel company is offering that first-hand experience.
the trips will leave from Tel Aviv stopping in a few places along the way including locations of significant battles in the 1948 War of Independence. They will visit areas blossoming with the coming of spring in the northern Negev area and then continue onto Sderot for a two-hour visit.

In the rocket-battered town, the organizers have not planned any specific activity. They are hoping that participants will roam the town's streets and spontaneously speak with residents about what they are going through and purchase products at Sderot's various commercial centers.

Smadar Bat-Adam, the person responsible for the Eretz Nehederet tour, told Ynet that "in every bus, there will be a tour guide who will add to the trip. In addition, Uzi Landau, (former Minister) Avigdor Kahalani and others will be among the passengers and they will also give explanations. ...

Landau said that "Sderot is a manifestation of Zionism renewing itself, we are turning to all who are Zionist and care about the land." However, the former minister emphasized that "the calling is for the entire public – from left to right. We're touring without political arguments – this is not a place for politics – everyone can be his own solution. We're going in order to tour, to identify and to aid the resident by purchasing (products from them)."
(The top photo came from Rick Richman's blog, where he recently has been chronically in pictures and words the situation in Sderot.)


Anonymous said...

Living there is nothing like the daily pain and horror of actually living in Gaza.

To date, 3 people have been killed by the Gaza rocket attacks. An estimated 180 (half of them children) have been killed in the retaliatory missile and bomb attacks.

Not to say that there is any righteousness whatsoever in the Gaza attacks, on either side, but cheap PR tactics like parading children around to local schools smacks of extreme disconnection with reality and the worst kind of posturing.

jpundit said...

To "anonymous:"

The “daily pain and horror of actually living in Gaza” is the result of the people there electing Hamas and sheltering it as it carries out its campaign promises.

Your numbers on Israeli and Palestinian casualties are incorrect, but the more relevant point is that more than 20,000 people (including thousands of children) are terrorized by multiple rockets, every day, whose sole purpose is to terrorize an entire city through random attacks out of the sky, at any moment, day and night.

Israel’s attacks are against Hamas terrorists, with civilian casualties the unintended consequence of the fact that those terrorists intentionally hide behind civilians. Hamas believes civilian casualties on their side actually help their cause, since they can depend on the fact that the international media and credulous observors will keep score and then declare that both sides are to blame.

Brad A. Greenberg said...

And so it continues:

GAZA — Israeli aircraft and troops attacked Palestinian positions in northern Gaza on Saturday, killing at least 46 people and wounding more than 100 in the deadliest day of fighting in more than a year. Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven wounded, the military said.

The Israeli attacks, mostly from the air on a clear, bright day, were aimed at stopping rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, the Israelis said, especially after Ashkelon, a large city 10 miles from Gaza, came under fire from more advanced, Katyusha-style rockets of Iranian design.

Half the dead were reported to be Hamas gunmen or those belonging to affiliated groups like Islamic Jihad. But as many as 19 Palestinian civilians also died in the heavily populated area, including four children, according to Dr. Moawiya Hassanain of the Gazan Health Ministry.

More than 70 Palestinians have died since fighting surged on Wednesday; an Israeli died in Sderot from a rocket, and six Israelis were wounded Saturday from rocket strikes in Ashkelon.

The fighting brought harsh criticism from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, who reportedly threatened to call off negotiations with Israel over a peace treaty. “We tell the world: watch and judge what’s happening, and judge who is committing international terrorism,” Mr. Abbas said in Ramallah, on the West Bank.

Mr. Abbas, who has referred to the rocket firing as useless provocation, said last week that armed conflict remained an option if negotiations failed.

An Israeli spokesman, David Baker, said that Israel was conducting “defensive measures” to protect its civilians from rocket fire against cities, which Mr. Baker called terrorism. “We have over 200,000 Israelis in range of Palestinian rockets. We cannot allow this to go on. These rocket attacks on Israelis are sheer terror, designed to kill or maim as many Israelis as possible.”