HANDS OF MERCY INTERNATIONAL
(souce: The Sderot Heritage Center
June 28, 2004: Afik Ohion Zehavi, 4, killed when a Qassam lands in his nursery school in Sderot.
June 28, 2004: Mordechai Yosephus, 49 killed when a rocket lands in a kindergarten in Sderot.
September 29, 2004: Dorit Inso, 2, killed when two rockets slam into her Sderot apartment building.
September 29, 2004: Yuval Abeva, 4, killed when two rockets hit his Sderot apartment building.
January 15, 2005: Ayala Haya Abukasis, 17, killed protecting her brother from rocket shrapnel in a Qassam attack on a residential neighborhood in Sderot.
November 11, 2006: Faian Slutzker, 57 killed when a Qassam strikes a street where she is walking.
November 21, 2006: Yaakov Yaakobovich, 43, killed during work at a Sderot poultry processing plant.
May 21, 2007: Shir-el Friedman, 35, killed in Sderot when a rocket hits a car she is walking near.
May 27, 2007: Oshri Oz, 36, is killed in Sderot when a rocket struck the car he was driving.
With the dawn of this millennium, an unprecedented explosion of Islamist hatred has risen, united by one passion…to destroy Israel and the Western Christian world…and replace them with an absolute Islamist Theocracy. The latest ‘weapon of terror’ through suicide bombings is now being supplemented by enormous arsenals of mass destruction; including thousands of missiles, armed with chemical and biological weapons for the planned annihilation of Israel.
According to data from the Sderot Heritage Center, over one million Israelis are now living under Palestinian rocket threat. Over 1,571 rockets (mostly Qassams and a number of Grads) and 1, 531 mortar rockets struck southern Israel in 2008 alone. Sde‘rot has become the most severely threatened city in 'The Land', painfully enduring over 10,000 rockets between 2001 and 2008!
THE IMPACT OF ROCKET FIRE
(souce: The Sderot Heritage Center
The Qassam rocket fire has had a terrible impact on the Western Negev region, especially on the city of Sderot. The city's population once numbered 24, 000 people. Today the population has fallen to an estimated 19,000, as over 5,000 residents have left. The following areas listed below have been considerably impacted by Palestinian rocket fire.
The Israeli government has installed a radar system or "red alert alarm" in an attempt to alert Israelis to possible shellings, though it does not sound on cold or rainy days when the radar cannot detect the rocket launches. In addition, the siren system cannot detect the launching of mortar shells. Once the rocket is launched from Gaza and the siren sounds, Sderot residents have 15 seconds to escape to a bomb shelter. In the year 2007 alone, 2000 Qassams were launched from Gaza to Sderot and the western Negev according to an IDF spokesman. Over 3,000 rockets were fired upon Sderot, the western Negev, and southern Israel in 2008, including over 200 rockets during the ceasefire between June-December 2008.
Approximately 3000 patient files have been opened in the Sderot Mental Health Center due to the rocket fire environment. In the year 2007 alone, 1,117 trauma victim files were opened, up significantly from 2006. Anxiety symptoms among children often include sleeping difficulties, nightmares, sweating, development regressions, wetting beds, and fear of the outside. There are only 4 psychologists on call in Sderot. Therefore, many Sderot trauma victims do not receive the proper, if any, psychological therapy and care.
The mental health of Sderot residents has severely deteriorated over the past seven years as each rocket attack results in psychological turmoil. Between 2007 and 2008, more than 1,600 instances of stress were reported. According to a NATAL study (Center for Victims of Terror and War) done in 2008, between 70% to 94% of Sderot children suffer from symptoms of PTSD while 28% of children actually have PTSD. Thirty percent of Sderot adults have been diagnosed with PTSD.
The NATAL study also showed that almost 50% of Sderot residents know someone who has been killed in a Palestinian rocket attack, while 65% personally know someone wounded in an attack. Over 90% of Sderot residents have experienced a Palestinian Qassam explosion at some point-whether it be in a neighborhood, home, school, business or other residential setting.
The state of Israel has ruled that Sderot is not a war-zone area and therefore businesses and buildings damaged by rockets do not receive immediate payments for damages, but retroactive payments only.
Real estate and small businesses have suffered most from the rocket fire. According to Yakov Levy, a Sderot realtor, prices of homes have fallen by 50%. Housing prices were nearly double in 2000 before the rocket fire began. Around 20-30 percent of businesses in Sderot and surrounding areas have shut down since the rocket terror. Sales at stores in general have dropped by nearly 50 percent. During the intense rocket fire of May 2007, 350 small businesses were forced to close down. In January 2008, Hollandia, a major international mattress factory, employing close to 100 local residents in and around Sderot, was on the verge of shutting down the factory in Sderot and relocating elsewhere due to the rocket situation and security risks.