Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sderot As Sport

Steve Walz writes:

It's hard for the average Jew in North America to have a proper understanding of what is taking place in Sderot. There are those who believe that Sderot (which Secretary of State Rice called SDAY-ROT) is located either somewhere in the "territories" or in the middle of the Negev desert.

In reality, Sderot is located less than an hour by car from metro Tel Aviv, adjacent to Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, one of Israel's most productive agricultural farms. In fact, the gas station/restaurant at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai bears a striking resemblance to a Route 17/Quickway "pit stop" one would pass on the way up to the Catskills.

Sderot also borders one of the country's main roadways heading south towards Beersheba, the capital of the Negev. Sderot looks like any other mid-size Israeli town, except for the fact that the red-tile roofs on the villas are becoming craters in the aftermath of incessant Kassam rocket attacks from nearby Gaza.

Sderot is NOT a settlement. It is working-class town that has become cannon fodder for Hamas and political fodder for PM Ehud Olmert's peace games. Sderot is INSIDE the so-called pre-1967 ceasefire lines and yet its citizens are paying a heavy toll for being near the bottom of the country's economic and social scales. The throngs of mostly Ashkenazic Israeli reporters who descend upon Sderot each time there's a massive barrage, have yet to challenge the secular elite businessmen and politicians who reside in chic Tel Aviv to trade places with their Sderot brethren in order to understand their anger and frustrations.

If Hamas or Hizbullah successfully fired a rocket at central Tel Aviv, there can be no doubt that the Gaza Strip and Southern Lebanon would be turned into an "urban renewal" project in a matter of hours. Yes, a form of social racism actually determines military and political policy in Jerusalem.

Think about it. What would you do if you lived in Brooklyn and missiles were falling on friends and family on Long Island? Would you allow the president to actually negotiate with the enemy at the gates?