|Rocket-damaged Kiryat Malachi home.(Photo by: BEN HARTMAN)|
‘Post’ visits victims devastated by rockets
By BEN HARTMAN
'Post' interviews residents of the South, Center living in terror of rockets from Gaza.
With her son and grandson still suffering from serious injuries sustained in the
rocket attack that killed her daughter-in-law and two other Israelis in Kiryat
Malachi last week, Chaya Sarah Scharf expressed serious disapproval of the
cease-fire reached between Israel and Hamas on Wednesday night.
“It was a
mistake to do this. There were times in the past when we agreed to a
cease-fire and we got to where we are now. Every time we reach a cease-fire they
just rebuild their power even more and become even stronger. We should finish it
off once and for all, and go in and finish it like we were supposed
Over the course of the last week-and-a-half The Jerusalem Post has
spoken to and interviewed dozens of residents of the South of Israel and the
Center, living in terror of the rockets from Gaza and desperate for a solution
that would ensure some peace.
The day after the cease-fire was announced,
they spoke of relief at the end of the rocket fire for now, but with deep
skepticism that the rockets would not begin striking the Israeli home front
again in the near future.
Varda Gordstein, a resident of a small
community in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, was working in the regional council’s
situation room on a day of heavy rocket fire last Sunday, a few days before
Operation Pillar of Defense began.
On Thursday, the relief could be heard
in her voice, mixed with a healthy dose of skepticism.
“Things are quiet
now so we’re happy, but we still haven’t gotten back to normal life yet. There
are still families that haven’t returned to their homes and children are still
staying within 15 seconds of their safe rooms.”
When asked what she
thought of the cease-fire she said “I won’t be happy yet with the ending of the
operation because for us it’s not over yet. Time will tell if it holds, but in
the meantime, I’m not sure what I think about it.”
Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak
resident Ronit Minaker serves as a spokeswoman for the Eshkol Regional Council,
and during the war was a sort of one-woman news ticker, sending out reams of text
messages daily about mortars and rockets fired at the towns of the Gaza
envelope. As someone who has lived in the shadow of the rocket threat for the
past decade, Minaker also was skeptical about the cease-fire.
cease-fire will have to prove itself over time and only the reality will prove
whether or not the it is real.”
Minaker said for her a ceasefire doesn’t
refer just to the past week, but the past 12 years of cross-border attacks and
rockets from Gaza.
“The problem isn’t this past week, it’s the ongoing
fire at civilians and yellow school buses and towns over these past 12 years,”
Minaker said, adding that the cease-fire will be judged by the test of
“At the moment they fire the first mortar at us in the Gaza
envelope, we’ll know what to think of the ceasefire, it doesn’t have to be a
rocket on Tel Aviv. Then we’ll see if Israel will respond or just take daily
fire on its civilians and not respond like we have up until now. If we don’t
respond to the first rocket strike, we’ll see rockets on Tel Aviv
On Wednesday of this week, Amira Castro, 56, was taken to Tel
Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital suffering from a severe attack of shock after witnessing
the bus bombing that took place in the city earlier in the day. Later that day
she spoke of the need for a large-scale IDF ground operation in Gaza, even
though she has four sons serving in combat units who could be called to the
front line. Perhaps unsurprisingly, on Thursday, she did not express glowing
reviews of the cease-fire.
“I’m not satisfied with this. It’s only
for a short time and they’ll rebuild and attack us again. Every time there’s a
cease-fire they just come back stronger and stronger.”
She added, “once
we were surprised when they managed to hit Ashkelon, now they’ve hit Tel Aviv
and they just get more powerful. We don’t have any security in Israel and the
state has to do something – we have to send our kids in to clean out their
weapon stores and deal with them like we’re supposed to.”
Castro spoke to
the Post just after waking up from taking sleeping pills the night before given
to her by doctors at the hospital. When asked to sum up the cease-fire, she said
“it’s like a sleeping pill, I helps you rest for a short period of time, but