'I never want to go back to Sderot'

Shareel Ben-David, neighbor of Amir Peretz, describes how a Kassam shattered her home and life.

Shareel Ben-David lives behind Defense Minister Amir Peretz's home just outside of Sderot in the house her husband grew up in. Yesterday, while bathing her children, the emergency warning siren sounded. Whisking her year-old twins out of the bath and into the bedroom, she took cover on the floor with her children and a neighbor's 10-year-old. A Kassam rocket fell at the entrance of her house. "The place is wrecked," she said her voice wavering. "Every window shattered and the impact of the rocket could have knocked us off our feet. The sound was deafening." The rocket ripped through the front door, starting a fire and causing severe damage to the home. As the fire blocked Shareel and her children from leaving, she called to her neighbors for help from the bathroom where moments earlier she had been washing her babies. Neighbors responded to her calls and took the twins from the wreckage. She was then escorted, weeping and hysterical by her own account, from the destroyed home. "I never want to go back," she told The Jerusalem Post via telephone. "It was terrible when it landed. We could have been killed." At the police station, Shareel was not allowed to hold her children as she wept out of control. Not for an hour was she reunited with the twins. After being examined, the three were taken to a hotel in Ashkelon and will stay there for the time being. Shareel's voice is wrought with stress as she explains the fear that has kept her awake at night. This fear will keep her and her husband, she says, from returning to Sderot, even though they love the small town. Shareel came to Israel in 1994 from the Philippines to volunteer on a kibbutz, where she fell in love with Shalom. After converting to Judaism, she married him. The two have lived in Sderot for the past five years. "The attacks have gotten worse," said Shareel. "I don't know when peace will come, but we will not go back."