Living where the missiles fall

Karl Pfeifer was in Israel and on October 24 interviewed Dana Drori, 26, a student of communication at Sapir College in Sderot, where she also works for the educational radio station, “Kol Hanegev” (106.4FM).

Why did you choose of all places Sderot? You could have enrolled at other universities where no rockets are fired at?

I choose to study communication, and not to live in the centre of the country, but in a place not far from the Gaza strip, where things happen, which are not always reported in the mainstream media, a place where rockets fall often.

When did you move to Sderot?

I moved there in 2008.

But at the time a lot of missiles were falling…

Yes, at the time there where a lot of missiles falling and they did not say much about it in the mainstream media. So it made my study even more interesting. Because people want you to tell about your life, but when you go to Tel Aviv and tell about it, nobody cares. They don’t really realise this is happening.

In the last year since Operation Cast Lead the situation became quiet. And I have a peaceful life in Sderot.

How was it when rockets are fired at you?

The feeling is not very nice. You live your life, everything is normal and then suddenly your hear the alarm “colour red” and you have 15 seconds to go to the shelter and you hear the missile falling. It depends where you are, because sometimes you can go to a shelter, but when you are driving or sleeping 15 seconds are a very short time to find a shelter. For me the experience was very strong, because I decided out of my free will to come to Sderot and study here, but most inhabitants, including the children of Sderot, have no option to go to another place because they have not a lot of money. They live in such a situation every day for 10 years. They have to worry all the time. Most of the children living in this area are traumatised seeing the missiles falling knowing that one of their friends was hurt.

How did you feel during Operation Cast Lead?

It was terrible, I came back to my parents house which is about half an hour drive from Sderot and that is a quiet place, nothing ever happens there. We heard airplanes going towards Gaza and my friend phoned and said please don’t come back there are bombs and it looks like war coming. I just came back for a couple of hours to see my parents and had to stay for two weeks. The school was canceled. Then I received a call college will open again and then suddenly an alarm was given in our village, where as I said never anything happens. In Sderot you have 15 seconds, but I was in my car with no shelter around. I stopped the car, I lay down on the ground and you lay on the floor 15 seconds, look at the blue sky and the rocket fell 200 meters from the house of my parents and about 300 meters from where I was. I did not feel safe in Sderot but now the rocket fell near our house.

Nothing is safe. But you can’t live your life in fear. One should go on, that is what I believe in.