Five Towns and Sderot teens connect with
each other regularly via teleconferencing equipment.
Ties between young American Jews and Israel — if studies are to be believed — are increasingly fraying. Don’t tell that to the students at the Rambam Mesivta yeshiva in the Five Towns and their counterparts 6,000 miles away in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.
Sderot, Israel — With a friendship confined to opposite poles of the Israel-Palestinian war zone — this southern border town and a Gaza refugee camp — the two men have not seen each other in about a year because of an escalating cycle of violence.
But they have been reunited in the blogosphere, writing a joint diary to stave off their own despair and prove that a dialogue is still possible across their bloody divide.
Gaza City — Hours before narrowly escaping an assassination attempt by the Israeli military, Hamas leader Abdel Azziz Rantisi dismissed the U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace plan and claimed that most Palestinians opposed it as well.
“It’s a big mistake. You won’t find any Palestinian who will tell you otherwise,” said the Hamas hardliner in an interview with The Jewish Week Monday at his home here on the Gaza Strip.
Sderot, Israel — The rocket alert was drowned out by the cacophony from the children’s Tu b’Shevat party. By the time the first kids dashed to the bomb shelter at the Parent and Child Community Center here, it was too late.
The Kassam rocket thundered overhead, accompanied by a subtle tremble.
"You heard that boom," asked Dalia Yosef, the director of the Sderot Resilience Center, which focuses on easing the psychological toll of the rockets. "It’s not that far away."
Ashkelon, Israel — For the residents of this coastal city of 120,000, the 10 miles between the Gaza border and the center of town seemed like a comfortable buffer. But in the wake of last Thursday’s rocket hit on the northern edge of the city, the buffer has all but dissolved, nerves here are raw, and residents are wondering if their city will become the next Sderot.
New York City’s mayor combined the personal and the political during his latest visit to Israel.
During two days there last week, he took part in the dedication of a refurbished emergency rescue service center in Jerusalem, and spent a morning in a Negev city that has been the target of repeated rocket attacks from Gaza.
The Israeli government struggled this week to find a way to end the barrage of Palestinian Kassam rocket attacks on the western Negev city of Sderot as beleaguered residents there staged a series of protests to compel the government to act.
Although there were reports that Defense Minister Amir Peretz intended to permit a massive Air Force operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in an effort to end the rocket fire, observers said at midweek that no final decision had been made.