Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sderot and Gaza in History, Until the Peace Process

Following Israel's capture of the Gaza Strip in 1967, it seemed that things would finally take a turn for the better. Sderot was now off the front lines. With Israel in control of Gaza, the terrorist raids came to an end. Israel even attempted to rid the UNRWA schools of antisemitic textbooks, but the United Nations immediately howled in protest. An occupying power, so the argument went, had no right to interfere with the daily education of the people under occupation. By censoring Arab textbooks, Israel would be disturbing the local culture, brainwashing the schoolchildren into thinking that craven acts of psychotic violence were somehow evil. Likewise, when Israel stepped in to build high-rise apartment complexes to finally empty the miserable slums, still full since the failed Egyptian invasion of 1948, the local terror gangs prevented anyone from moving in by force. Emptying the slums, ending the misery, might serve to distract the residents from the overarching goal of restoring Arab honor, soiled in '48 and again in '67.

But the Arabs were allowed to come into Israel to work. In fact, the fences and borders came down everywhere. With no walls, patrols or checkpoints, Arabs could work freely anywhere in Israel. The road from Gaza to neighboring Ashkelon crowded with traffic from commuting workers.

Sderot Today

"Welcome to Sderot"

Sderot, a traditional town, is by no means a religious. But the people aren't far from Judaism. Like most working-class Sephardim in Israel's south, the people have a genuine respect for Torah, even if not stringently adhering to its guidelines at all times.

A man walking through Sderot preparing for Shabbat (sabbath.) Behind him, a billboard displays the weekly torah portion, as well as the times for the beginning and end of Shabbat.

Like everywhere else in the world, Sderot has its own Chabad house.

Putting on Tefillin in Chabad.

Driving through Sderot, one sees strange sort of walled semi-circles arching over some of the buildings. More on that later.
A strange looking structure.

No comments: