Commentary Magazine


A Year in Sderot

Laura Bialis, an American documentary filmmaker currently living in Sderot to film a community under existential stress, posts on the completion of her first year there:

This week marks one year since I moved to Sderot, a small town on the edge of Israel’s Negev desert, one mile away from the Gaza strip.  I came here to find out what it means to live in a never-ending war, and to document the lives and music of musicians under fire.

Sderot is known for being a poor southern development town, for being hit by qassam rockets from Gaza for eight-years with no end in sight, and for being the “Liverpool” of Israel, having bred some of Israel’s most successful rock bands.

Among Israel’s elite and Tel Aviv society, Sderot is known as a “lousy” place… and on the surface it looks run down, unkempt, and unbeautiful.  I have noted the shocked expressions of most Israelis when they hear that I have moved from West Los Angeles to Sderot.  But in my year here, I have forged an unbreakable connection to this place.

Maybe I’m just a small town person who’s been stuck in a big city most of my life, or maybe the artist in me felt constrained dealing with the film industry in LA.  All I can report is that I have learned more in this, my 35th year, than any other in my life. . . .

The remarkable post continues here.

One day, when the history of the resistance to the Islamic war of terror is written, a special chapter will be devoted to the citizens of Sderot, who lived day after day, year after year, through rockets fired indiscriminately at a civilian population, but who — like the citizens of London during the blitz — stood their ground, while the world yawned and cautioned their government about a “proportionate” response.

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