Ashkelon residents, fed up with gov’t inaction

He stressed that "the government doesn't know what it's like. They should send MKs here to see what we go through, what the children of this city go through - it's the whole south. Not just us.

Life in Ashkelon carries on as rockets continue to pound southern Israel. (photo credit: ILANIT CHERNICK)
Life in Ashkelon carries on as rockets continue to pound southern Israel.
(photo credit: ILANIT CHERNICK)
The people of Ashkelon are fed up with the government’s response to decades of rockets raining down on their city.
Sirens wailed on Wednesday morning, piercing the calm in the city, two in the course of five minutes. Buses pulled over to the side of the road and passengers, including several soldiers, alighted and ran for cover.
There were several loud booms as the Iron Dome system intercepted the incoming rockets.


But the rockets alone were not what angered the people. What angered them, they said, was that they could have predicted this latest onslaught, as the government has failed to take decisive action against the terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
According to resident Avi Kline, it started in November 2018 when a botched IDF operation in Gaza sent hundreds of rockets into Israel.
“Since that time, it hasn’t stopped,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “The government doesn’t know what it’s like. They should send MKs here to see what we go through, what the children of this city go through – it’s the whole South, not just us. Say what you want, but it’s not normal. No other country would take this. We should be hitting them harder.”
Bat-El Amitai, another resident, expressed similar sentiments. “The government should continue the airstrikes and destroy the terrorists,” she said. “There needs to be more force. We keep giving them a pat on the back when they attack us. We need to punch them hard.”
The residents, however, were not ready to abandon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“If Benny Gantz comes in, it will be worse,” said Amitai. “He doesn’t know how to speak or lead the country. We need a change, but it needs to continue to be led by Netanyahu. If we’re going to see a change, the first thing has to be the Jewish people uniting as one people. There should be no Left and no Right – we should all be together.”
Other residents also told the Post that they are afraid that Gantz would not be able to lead, given his challenges in handling Operation Cast Lead, which was full of failures such as losing so many soldiers in the field.
Amitai said she continues to live in Ashkelon under rocket fire “because we cannot let the terrorists win.”
Despite multiple rocket attacks on Wednesday morning and into the early afternoon, residents remained upbeat. Coffee shops, restaurants and shopping malls stayed open with many relatively busy, as patrons came in and out throughout the day.
“We can’t give them power over us,” said Juliette, who asked that her last name not be used.
“We must keep moving forward – we have to keep living,” added Simona, who was sipping coffee next to her friend.
As the Post tried to video some of the rocket attacks, locals yelled “What are you doing? Get to the bomb shelter!”
Taking cover next to a wall as the sirens continued, Juliette and Simona asked, “Are you afraid?”
Simona held out her hands, which were shaking with trepidation.
Ten-year-old Nadav Vaknin told reporters that he is not yet used to the rocket attacks.
“I do get scared when there’s a siren,” he admitted, “but I run straight to the shelter as soon as I hear it. Everything is going to be okay in the end,” he said, convincing himself more than the adults around him. “We are strong.”