Sderot

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Sderot
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Hebrew שְׂדֵרוֹת
 • ISO 259 Śderot
Public bomb shelter, Sderot
Public bomb shelter, Sderot
Official logo of Sderot
Logo
Sderot is located in Israel
Sderot
Sderot
Coordinates: 31°31′22″N 34°35′43″E / 31.52278°N 34.59528°E / 31.52278; 34.59528Coordinates: 31°31′22″N 34°35′43″E / 31.52278°N 34.59528°E / 31.52278; 34.59528
District South
Founded 1951
Government
 • Type City (from 1996)
 • Mayor David Buskila
Area
 • Total 4,472 dunams (4.472 km2 or 1.727 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 24,000
Name meaning Boulevards/avenues

Sderot (Hebrew: שְׂדֵרוֹת, Hebrew pronunciation: [sdeˈʁot]) is a western Negev city in the Southern District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), at the end of 2011 the city had a total population of 24,000.[1] The city has been an ongoing target of Qassam rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip since 2001.

Sderot is located less than a mile from Gaza (the closest point is 840 m).[2] Rocket attacks on the city have killed 13 Israelis, wounded dozens, caused millions of dollars in damage and profoundly disrupted daily life.[3] Studies have found that air raid sirens and explosions have caused severe psychological trauma in some residents.[4] From mid-June 2007 to mid-February 2008, 771 rockets and 857 mortar bombs were fired at Sderot and the western Negev, an average of three or four each a day.[5]

History[edit]

Sderot was founded in 1951 as a transit camp for Kurdish and Persian Jewish immigrants, who lived in tents and shacks during the Jewish exodus from Muslim countries before permanent housing was completed in 1954.[6] It was built on lands once belonging to the Palestinian Arab village of Najd[7] and is located a few miles south of the village's ruins. On 13 May 1948, Najd was occupied by the Negev Brigade as part of Operation Barak, and the villagers were driven out[8] to Gaza. In 1956, Sderot was recognized as a local council.[9]

Sderot received a symbolic name, after the numerous avenues and standalone rows of trees planted in the Negev, especially between Beersheba and Gaza, to combat desertification and beautify the arid landscape. Like many other localities in the Negev, Sderot's name has a green motif that symbolizes the motto "making the desert bloom", a central part of Zionist ideology.[10]

School in Sderot, early 1950s

In the 1961 census, the percentage of North African immigrants, mostly from Morocco, was 87% in the town; another 11% of the residents were immigrants from Kurdistan.[11] In the 1950s, the city continued to absorb a large number of immigrants from Morocco and Romania. It reached local council status in 1958.

Sderot absorbed another large wave of immigrants during the Aliyah from the Soviet Union in the 1990s, doubling its population. In 1996, it was declared a city.

The population declined as families left the city in desperation. The mayor said in 2008 that the population had dropped by 10–15%, while aid organizations said the figure was closer to 25%. Many of the families that remained were those who could not afford to move out or are unable to sell their homes.[12]

According to a study carried out at Sapir Academic College in 2007, some 75% of the population was suffering from PTSD in the wake of rocket attacks on the city, and 1,000 residents were receiving psychiatric treatment at the community mental health center.[13]

In May 2011, the British Ambassador to Israel visited Sderot and met with Mayor David Buskila, who described the suffering of children in both Sderot and Gaza:[2]

"Believe me that I feel bad for my children, for the children that live here in Sderot, but I also feel pain for the children that live in the other side of the border in Gaza ... This situation that the children from this place and the other place is because of the behaviour of the leaders of the terror organisations. We can create another quality of life, it is so close."

Demographics[edit]

According to CBS, in 2010 the city had a population of 21,900. The national makeup of the city was 94% Jewish, 5.5% other non-Arabs, and Arabs less than 1%. There were 10,600 males and 10,500 females. The population growth rate in 2010 was 0.5%.

A number of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were resettled in Sderot beginning in 1997 after cooperating with the Shin Bet.[14]

Economy[edit]

In 2008, the average wage for a salaried worker in Sderot was NIS 5,261.[15]

Hollandia International, founded in 1981, a company that manufacturers and exports high-end mattresses, moved its sole manufacturing center to Sderot 11 years ago. Following the rocket attacks, Hollandia has been forced to relocate.

Sderot is the first location in Israel to offer WiMAX services, with a WiMAX service for educational institutions initiated on January 8, 2009 by the 012 Smile ISP and the communications ministry.[16]

The Osem plant in Sderot, opened in 1981, is the region's major employer, with 480 workers. 170 products are manufactured there, including Bamba, Bisli, Mana Hama instant noodle and rice dishes, instant soup powders, shkedei marak, ketchup and sauces.[17]

The Menorah Candle factory located in Sderot exports Hanukkah candles all over the world.[18]

Nestlé maintains a research and development facility in Sderot,[19] established in 2002. Its production facilities for breakfast cereals are also located in Sderot.[20]

Amdocs has a plant in the Sderot and an industrial zone is under development.[21]

In 2012, the government approved nearly $59 million worth of economic benefits for Sderot to strengthen the economy, boost employment and subsidize psycho-social programs for the city's residents.[22]

Local government[edit]

In 2010, after a decline in charitable donations, the municipality revealed that it was on the verge of bankruptcy.[23]

Education[edit]

Sapir Academic College, Sderot

According to CBS, there are 14 schools and 3,578 students in the city. They are spread out as eleven elementary schools and 2,099 elementary school students, and six high schools and 1,479 high school students. 56.5% of 12th grade students were entitled to a matriculation certificate in 2001. Sapir Academic College[24] and the Hesder Yeshiva of Sderot are located in Sderot. All schools in the city and 120 bus stops have been fortified against missile attacks.[25]

Culture[edit]

An unusually high ratio of singers, instrumentalists, composers and poets have come from Sderot.[26]

Harp sculpture, Sderot town square
Mosaic, based on a Renoir painting, in Sderot

Several popular bands have been formed by musicians who practiced in Sderot's bomb shelters as teenagers.[27][28][29] Because Sderot is a poor, immigrant town with high unemployment experiencing a dramatic musical success as bands blend international sounds with the music of their Moroccan immigrant parents, it has been compared to Liverpool in the sixties.[30][31] Among the notable bands are Teapacks[32] Knesiyat Hasekhel and Sfatayim.[33] Well-known musicians from Sderot include Shlomo Bar, Kobi Oz, Haïm Ulliel and Smadar Levi. The winner of the Israeli version of "American Idol" 2011 was Hagit Yaso, a local Sderot singer of Ethiopian origin.

Israeli poet Shimon Adaf was born in Sderot,[26] as well as the actor and entertainer Maor Cohen. Adaf dedicated a poem to the city in his 1997 book Icarus' Monologue.

In 2007, Jewish-American documentary filmmaker Laura Bialis immigrated to Israel, and decided to settle in Sderot "to find out what it means to live in a never-ending war, and to document the lives and music of musicians under fire".[34] Her film Sderot: Rock in the Red Zone focuses on young musicians living under the daily threat of Qassams.[35][36][37]

Rocket fire from Gaza[edit]

The remnants of Qassam rockets fired on Sderot
"Someone has been wounded" – Drawing by a 7-year old Sderot resident
Iron Dome rocket defense battery near Sderot
Sderot is located in the 10–15 sec of grad rocket range

Sderot lies one kilometer (0.62 miles) from the Gaza Strip and town of Beit Hanoun. Since the beginning of the Second Intifada in October 2000, the city has been under constant rocket fire from Qassam rockets launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.[38] Despite the imperfect aim of these homemade projectiles, they have caused deaths and injuries, as well as significant damage to homes and property, psychological distress and emigration from the city. The Israeli government has installed a "Red Color" (צבע אדום) alarm system to warn citizens of impending rocket attacks, although its effectiveness has been questioned. Citizens only have 7–15 seconds to reach shelter after the sounding of the alarm. Thousands of Qassam rockets have been launched since Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005.

In May 2007, a significant increase in shelling from Gaza prompted the temporary evacuation of thousands of residents.[39] By November 23, 2007, 6,311 rockets had fallen on the city.[40] Yediot Ahronoth reported that during the summer of 2007, 3,000 of the city's 22,000 residents (consisting mostly of the city's key upper and middle class residents) left for other areas, out of Qassam rocket range. Russian billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak organised a series of relief programs for residents unable to leave.[41] On December 12, 2007, after more than 20 rockets landed in the Sderot area in a single day, including a direct hit to one of the main avenues, Sderot mayor Eli Moyal announced his resignation, citing the government's failure to halt the rocket attacks.[42] Moyal was persuaded to retract his resignation.

Casualties[edit]

Name Age upon death Date of death Notes
Mordechai Yosepov 49 June 28, 2004
Afik Zahavi 4 June 28, 2004
Yuval Abebeh 4 September 24, 2004
Dorit (Mesarat) Benisian 2 September 24, 2004
Ayala-Haya (Ella) Abukasis 17 January 21, 2005 Critically wounded on January 15, 2005
Fatima Slutsker 57 November 16, 2006
Yaakov Yaakobov 43 November 21, 2006
Shirel Friedman 32 May 21, 2007
Oshri Oz 36 May 27, 2007
Roni Yihye 47 February 27, 2008
Shir-El Friedman 35 May 19, 2008
Source

Solidarity gestures[edit]

In a gesture of solidarity, El Al (Israel's national airline) named one of its two newest Boeing 777 passenger planes "Sderot" (4X-ECE) (the other was named for Kiryat Shmona (4X-ECF)).[43][44]

In January 2008, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York organized a display of 4,200 red balloons outside the United Nations building.[45] Each balloon represented a Qassam rocket that had been fired into Sderot,[46] where for years the town and its surrounding area have been under near-constant bombardment by thousands of rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza.[47] Consul David Saranga, who conceptualized the display, said he used the balloons as an opportunity to call upon the international community to stop ignoring what's happening in Israel.[48] The balloon display made headlines in New York City papers as well as international publications.[49]

Lawsuits[edit]

In 2011, a Sderot resident filed a million dollar lawsuit against two Canadian organizations raising funds for a Canadian ship to join the Gaza flotilla. According to the lawyers, "The Canadian Boat's raison d'être is to aid and abet the terrorist organization that rules Gaza." The suit alleges that these actions violate Canadian laws that prohibit aid to terror groups.[50]

Transportation[edit]

A new railway line connecting Sderot and Tel Aviv was inaugurated in December 2013. The new station, located on the outskirts of the city, is the first in Israel to be armored against rocket fire.[51]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Sderot is twinned with:

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Table 3 - Population of Localities Numbering Above 2,000 Residents and Other Rural Population" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  2. ^ a b "Ambassador visits Sderot, impressed by 'spirit of town'". Ukinisrael.fco.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  3. ^ Avi Issacharoff; Mijal Grinberg. "2 Israelis Lightly Wounded as 33 Rockets Slam in Western Negev". Haaretz. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  4. ^ Sharfman, Jake (2009-12-17). "Tiny organization fights to make Sderot's voice heard". Haaretz. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Qassam Rockets — Background and Statistics". Zionism-Israel.com. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  6. ^ "Gimme shelter". Heebmagazine.com. 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  7. ^ Khalidi (1992), p. 128
  8. ^ Benny Morris. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. Cambridge University Press. p. 258. 
  9. ^ HaReuveni (1999), p. 908
  10. ^ Sasson (2010), p. 137
  11. ^ Rapoport, Meron (2007-05-25). "The Pioneers of Sderot". Haaretz. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  12. ^ Hadad, Shmulik (2008-03-19). "Sderot: Those Who Can Afford It Have Already Left". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  13. ^ דוידה גינטר (2007-11-26). "כך הפקירה המדינה את נפגעי החרדה". Natal.org.il. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  14. ^ Hadad, Shmulik (2007-05-30). "Palestinian Collaborator: Terrorists Only Understand Force". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  15. ^ Aizescu, Sivan (2008-04-02). "Survey: Consumers in the sticks are paying through the nose". English.themarker.com. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  16. ^ "WiMax Experiment – Also in Sderot". Ynet/TheCom. September 20, 2007. Retrieved 2010-02-18.  (Hebrew)
  17. ^ Tsoref, Ayala (2009-08-27). "Nestle honcho drops in to see Bamba baby". Haaretz. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  18. ^ Azoulay, Yuval (2009-12-11). "Hanukkah miracles all around". Haaretz. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  19. ^ "R&D Sderot, Israel". Nestle.com. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  20. ^ "Nestle producing new breakfast cereal in Sderot - Israel Business, Ynetnews". Ynetnews. 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  21. ^ Arik Mirovsky (July 30, 2012). "Sderot comes back to life". Haaretz. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  22. ^ Marcy Oster (January 1, 2012). "Sderot and environs get $59 million in gov't benefits for '12". Jta.org. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  23. ^ Yanir Yagna (March 24, 2010). "Rocket-battered Sderot faces bankruptcy". Haaretz. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  24. ^ Sapir Academic College[dead link]
  25. ^ Margot Dudkevitch (15 November 2011). "Living under the rocket's roar". The Jerusalem Report (Jpost.com). Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  26. ^ a b Geer Fay Cashman (June 24, 2006). "Grapevine: Away from the rockets' red glare,". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  27. ^ Cobi Ben-Simhon (August 8, 2007). "Sounds from another country". Haaretz. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  28. ^ Sderot, A Love Story, The Jewish Week, Gary Rosenblatt, 06/18/2008[dead link]
  29. ^ "Borderland Pop: Arab Jewish Musicians and the Politics of Performance", Galit Saada-Ophir, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Cultural Anthropology Volume 21 Issue 2, Pages 205–233, 7 Jan 2008
  30. ^ Teapacks interview, Caroline Westbrook, something Jewish, 09/05/2007
  31. ^ "The Official Sderot Movie Website :: Movie : Music : Musicians". Sderotmovie.com. 2008-12-13. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  32. ^ "teapacks". teapacks. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  33. ^ "Sefatayim". Israel-music.com. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  34. ^ "Rockets may fall, but Sderot continues to rock". 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  35. ^ Zaitchik, Alexander (2008-03-16). "Documentary Pulls Back Iron Curtain". The Forward. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  36. ^ Fuma, Simona (2008-04-23). "Rebel With a Cause". World Jewish Digest. Retrieved 2008-10-20. [dead link]
  37. ^ Lash Balint, Judy (2008-03-02). "Only Thirty-Six Hours in Sderot". San Diego Jewish World. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  38. ^ Silverman, Anav (2007-09-20). "A City Under Siege: An Inside View of Sderot, Israel". Sderot Media Center. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  39. ^ Kershner, Isabel (2007-05-31). "Israeli Border Town Lives in the Shadow of Falling Rockets". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-10-20. [dead link]
  40. ^ Sackett, Shmuel (2007-12-07). "23 Years and 6,311 Rockets". Israel Insider. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  41. ^ "3,000 Sderot Residents Have Left Town". The Jerusalem Post. 2007-11-16 archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20110813132303/http://fr.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380747715&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  42. ^ "Israeli Mayor Quits Over Rockets". BBC Online. 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  43. ^ "Boeing 777 Named for Sderot". infolive.tv. 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  44. ^ "Production List Search". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  45. ^ 4,200 balloons released in NY to protest Qassam fire, By Neta Sela, Ynet News, January 24, 2008.
  46. ^ "Israeli mission in N.Y. displays 4,200 balloons, one for each Qassam". Haaretz. January 25, 2008. [dead link]
  47. ^ Itamar Sharon (January 24, 2008). "Balloon for each Kassam on UN doorstep". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  48. ^ Meet David Saranga, the man whose campaigns are rebranding Israel, David Russell, The Jewish Chronicle, Published May 23, 2008.
  49. ^ Balloons for Sderot, AP Images, Published January 2008.
  50. ^ Friedman, Ron (June 8, 2011). "Sderot rocket victims sue Gaza flotilla organizers". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  51. ^ In first, Sderot train chugs into rocket-protected station
  52. ^ Sderotplatz in Zehlendorf June 10, 2009. Retrieved August 23, 2012.

Bibliography[edit]

  • HaReuveni, Immanuel (1999). Lexicon of the Land of Israel. Yedioth Ahronoth Publishing. ISBN 965-448-413-7.  (Hebrew)
  • Khalidi, Walid (1992). All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. ISBN 0-88728-224-5. 
  • Avi Sasson, ed. (2010). Sderot. Ariel Publishing and Makom Company.  (Hebrew)

External links[edit]