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Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009/1/2 -- DAY #6: Sederot – A City Under Siege

Today, my heart was simply torn apart. Escorted by the staff of StandWithUs, I spent the better part of the day in Sederot. Once there, I was led by StandWithUs staff on a tour of this shell-shocked city, a city that has been hit with thousands of Palestinian bombs, mortars, and missiles over the last eight years, most of which were fired by Hamas over the last three years of this period. I enjoyed the wonderful surprise of meeting up with my good friend (and a good friend of so many among the leadership of the Los Angeles Jewish Community), Israel’s former Deputy Counsel General in Los Angeles, Yaron Gamberg; we found one another at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ onsite location for foreign journalists. Thereafter, I met with national political leaders visiting the area to assess the situation, local residents, and volunteers who have made themselves available to assist Sederot’s beleaguered residents. The tortured and terrorized residents of Sederot have been battered beyond belief and beyond anything that should ever be tolerated. It is difficult to understand how Israel could have allowed these decent people, citizens of Israel – Jewish brothers and sisters, to suffer as they have until now. Only Israel’s reticence to wage war and its humanitarian concern for Gaza’s own civilians could account for such misjudgment; and, misjudgment it has been. A country’s primary responsibility is to its own citizens, rather than to those who have leaders and governments of their own who bear their responsibility. Neither the right nor the left, nor anything in between, has fulfilled its responsibility to Sederot’s residents; Israel’s Likud, Labor, and Kadimah parties have each led governments during the period of the Palestinian’s bombardment of Sederot and none of them have fulfilled their most basic responsibilities to these fine and loyal citizens of the State of Israel. It is fitting that all three parties, together, are now attempting, in unity, to right their past wrongs. Rather than writing an extensive entry for this day, please follow the video-link below to view an interview with Sari, a mother of four and an Occupational Therapist living in Sederot (if clicking on a link does not work, please copy the link into your web-browser and then click “enter” on your keyboard). Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Isaac Jeret
Spiritual Leader
Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay