Newsletter 57: Coffee in Sderot
You may have noticed that about once a week something new appears on my website. At the moment there's a link to a video of people shaking the lulav and a picture of a lulav, but life doesn't end with Sukkot;.
What do I put there after Sukkot? What can compare with the joyous euphoria of the festival? I have to put something there that will be as attractive as Sukkot yet ordinary and commonplace, befitting my objective of "No News".
In my search for the ordinary last Monday I visited the town of Sderot, the town where rockets fall every day. (no rockets fell on the day I was there)
Sipping my coffee, on a balcony, closed in by brown tinted windows to keep out the bright desert sun, I could see people walking to catch the 353 Metropolitan bus to Tel Aviv, the same bus I had alighted, moments earlier, in one of the suburbs. I had walked about 500 meters from there to the coffee shop.
Walking by myself, in the middle of the day, through the empty streets, I realized that the people in Gaza firing the rockets must be familiar with this town or must remember days, not so long ago, when their parents took them to visit the Jewish town, only 2 kms from Gaza.
Sderot is well known for its big industrial area and it must have been an ideal place to work.
Gaza Arabs and Israeli Jews must have met here, made friends and exchanged ideas.
In my mind's eye I saw Sderot crowded with Gaza Arabs, walking in the streets, buying in the shops, sipping coffee and generally helping to make it a thriving town.
The Arabs must have given Sderot a lot of color; kefiahs, camels, water pipes, Arab music and most of all the Arabic language must have been heard all around.
Now all you see is a sleepy town with a few Israelis in the shops and sipping coffee
The Gaza Arabs can't visit Sderot, as they used to because the Israeli government has placed a border between them and Sderot. Undoubtedly Sderot's economy suffers without the Arabs but the Arabs have lost their source of livelihood, which depended on their ability to enter the town to find work in the factories and businesses.
They have obviously replaced their work with employment by extremist factions in Gaza fighting against Israel. Now they're trying to destroy the place which they blame for their loss of livelihood.
In my opinion they wrongly see Israel and Sderot as the place "which has denied them the opportunity to earn a livelihood."
Instead of this delusion they should understand that their only hope of economic success is co-operation with Israel.
Israel is their hope and they mistakenly see her as the cause of their troubles.
Drinking coffee in Sderot is a very stimulating pastime. I can recommend it to anyone who has the time.
Wishing you a great no news day.