At the next committee of inquiry, the biggest failure will be how policy makers let a whole city of 22,000 inhabitants crumble and collapse without providing the help it needed. In military jargon, this is like leaving the wounded behind. Stop spending every day on the findings of the Committee whose lessons have been learned long ago and are on their way to being implemented in one way or another and start being leaders. Leadership is responsibility, the ability to say to the residents of Sderot and the Gaza perimeter that “we are with you”, really with you. Give us, finally, two things which are the oxygen or the ammunition that we need to continue the fight in Sderot to maintain our routine and to strengthen our social resilience. Sderot and the Gaza perimeter currently need two main things:
First – Reinforced Shelters: A decision needs to be made to immediately provide a secure room, one way or another, to any family that does not have a safe area in its home. Such a decision will provide thousands of residents in Sderot and the Gaza perimeter with the strength and hope to go on coping. For example, a decision could be made that any family interested in building a reinforced room, according to standard, will receive a reimbursement for their expenses.
Second: A major military action that will free the residents of Sderot and the Gaza perimeter from their hostage situation. We do not need promises that won’t be kept. We want to see that efforts are being made that can change the situation. I know that this involves a risk to soldiers and that there will be casualties but there is no choice – that is the role of an army in a normal country. The IDF is one of the strongest and most advanced armies in the world and has the ability to find ways of achieving significant results with relatively low risk to soldiers and civilians on the other side. As a reserve soldier, I was involved for about 10 years in preventing the launch of Scuds from Iraq. The army invested the best of its forces, resources and technology to cope with such a risk. We are asking that the 30,000 residents of Sderot and the Gaza perimeter be treated in the same way. Don’t abandon us because the Kassams don’t reach Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.
Such leadership, which takes on true responsibility, will give us the strength to continue coping despite the crazy reality. In recent years, the meaning of the concept “All Jews are responsible for one another” has been made clear to me. A day doesn’t go by that we aren’t contacted by citizens, donors, businesses and organizations that want to help and are prepared to open their hearts, their homes and their wallets for us as citizens on the front, and that helps keep us strong.
What is missing now is for the nation’s decision makers to take responsibility and be leaders. They should stop hiding behind bureaucratic processes and a lack of confidence in themselves and in the political and military establishment.
I am writing these words as a resident of Sderot for over 20 years and as a person who, along with hundreds of others, has invested a great deal of time in the day-to-day struggle to strengthen social resilience in Sderot.
As I write, Kassams continue to fall on Sderot and the circle of casualties, primarily emotional, is getting larger and larger. We are fighting for our homes, our life's work. We have no other home and we do not want to get into a situation where we have to look for a different one.
We ask for your help – not to "rescue us" but rather to be our partners in the struggle. Don't run from responsibility and don't abandon us or the basic values that led to the creation of the State of Israel. I ask with all my heart and with the faith that we still have in you – "be with us".