A video of frightened and crying toddlers in a shelter in Ashkelon – after another rocket alert – highlights the frustration of southern Israel residents over the ongoing attacks on the region.
The video was filmed Tuesday night when the rocket alert sounded just before midnight in the coastal town with over 140,000 inhabitants. A few hours earlier, two rockets were fired at another city further south. This time it was just a false alarm, but it was no consolation to Reut Shpilman’s children, who were crying and shaking with fear in the shelter. Shpilman believes that many do not understand the tense and difficult situation people in southern Israel are living in.
-It is very frustrating, the gap between understanding what is going on in the south and how life just goes on in areas where there are no alarms, she says.
In Ashkelon, residents have 30 seconds to reach safety when the rocket alarm sounds. In areas even closer to the Gaza Strip, there is less time – down to 0 seconds.
-in 30 seconds we need to have four children in the shelter, which is located outside our home. We can not continue like this, says the resigned mother of four children.
The video clip was viewed over 110,000 times during the first day after it was shared on social media. The video shows how three of Reut’s children are in shock inside the shelter:
The 8-year-old daughter Ori, shakes and cries and tells her mother that she does not want to return to the house, even though the rocket alarm has stopped. 6-year-old Jonathan has wrinkles on his forehead and shakes with fear as he moves towards his mother. The youngest, 3-year-old Noam, clings to his mother.
-I do not want more war, says Ori with trembling lips.
The video was recorded 20 minutes after the alarm went off, but the children could not calm down. The video shows the experience of one in tens of thousands of families who for years have had to live with a persistent rocket threat from Gaza.
– The pictures are repeated every time the alarm goes off. That is the reality we live in, says Shpilman, in an interview published in the Times of Israel.
Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, more than 20,000 rockets have been fired at civilians in southern Israel. . In the past year alone, Palestinian terrorists have fired nearly 2,000 rockets. During November 12 and 13, more than 450 rockets were fired at Israel. Several were fired at Ashkelon and other cities near Gaza.
In the past year, seven people have been killed and dozens more injured – several seriously – by Palestinian rocket attacks. But the rockets do not only cause physical damage. The mental damage is also great. Thousands of Israelis contact the authorities every year to receive trauma treatment. There has been a sharp increase in the number of Israelis in need of such treatment in recent years.
The video shows the panic during a rocket attack on Sderot on Tuesday: