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In Israeli Town, Bombs Are 'Routine'

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In Israeli Town, Bombs Are 'Routine'


In Israeli Town, Bombs Are 'Routine'

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From the studios of NPR West, this is Day to Day. I am Madeleine Brand.


And I am Alex Cohen. Happy New Year's Eve. Coming up on the show, how to party on a budget - what the bad economy is doing to tonight's festivities in the Big Apple.

BRAND: First, Israel is rejecting a proposed ceasefire in Gaza, saying conditions are not right. Meanwhile, Hamas says it will study truce proposals. So far, nearly 400 people have been killed in Gaza, many hundreds more wounded. On the Israeli side, five people have been killed in the latest fighting by homemade rockets fired from Gaza.

Most of those rockets land less than a mile away from the border in the small Israeli city of Sderot. Since the second intifada began eight years ago, thousands of rockets have hit Sderot. And just this morning, there were new rocket attacks. Joining us now is Sderot resident Anav Silverman. And, Anav, how many rockets fell this morning in Sderot, and what was that like?

Ms. ANAV SILVERMAN: In Sderot today, in comparison to yesterday, we've had fewer rockets, but in the past 24 hours, close to 50 rockets have been fired. This has become a regular routine here in Sderot, no different from when the ceasefire began in June. Everyone here in Sderot is in a very high state of alert. Most of the families are in the bomb shelters just waiting for the nightmare to be over at some point.

BRAND: And I understand that when the alarm goes off, that there is an incoming rocket, you only have about 15 seconds?

Ms. SILVERMAN: Yes, 15 seconds has become really a major part of life here. Whenever the siren alert goes off, it's called the tzeva adom or red color alert. If gives people about 10 to 15 seconds to escape to shelter, so many times, you'll be finding yourself doing a normal everyday routine, going to the supermarket, to the post office, eating out, and the siren will sound, and you immediately get up and locate the nearest bomb shelter.

I can give you the example what it's like here in our office. Throughout the day, we'll be stopping in the middle of my work and running to the shelter outside. Sometimes we're not able to get to the shelter within those 15 seconds. The rocket will explode a few seconds earlier, but it has, in many times, saved many lives, just that siren giving you those seconds to escape because the rockets can land anywhere anytime without anyone knowing or anticipating it.

BRAND: What is that like for you personally, psychologically to live under that constant bombardment?

Ms. SILVERMAN: It's a lot of pressure and a lot of stress, something that I've never experienced in my life. I've been in Sderot for over a year and a half now. Like, many times, I find myself not in the vicinity of a bomb shelter, so you simply, you know, lay down on the ground and hope for the best. But it's something that I can tell you, just last week, a rocket fell a few meters outside of our media center, and I heard the shriek of the rocket as it sailed over the center. And when it exploded, the entire office trembled, and it's things like that that really stick in your mind.

And a few days later, I found myself waking up to the sound of the tzeva adom, to the sound of the siren, and I wasn't even in Sderot. I was somewhere else. And any kind of small noise, a boom or anything just constantly reminds you the sound of the rocket explosion, and it really sets you off. It really becomes part of, I guess, your psychological makeup, and it takes a long while to get over it.

BRAND: Well, let's hope the New Year brings peace, and thank you very much for speaking with us today.

Ms. SILVERMAN: You're very welcome. Thank you.

BRAND: Anav Silverman from Sderot, Israel.

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