By Yossi Baumol
March 12—Charlie Aboutbul came to S’derot 65 years ago from Morocco and raised his nine children in S’derot—all living in S’derot, all having served in IDF combat units. Charlie himself was injured in a rocket attack a few years ago and today his daughter-in-law and granddaughter were nearby when a rocket exploded in S’derot.
What did Charlie say to Minister Naftali Bennett and his fellow Jewish Home MKs Avi Wortzman and Zevulun Khalfa when they visited the home of Charlie’s son Yechiel? Did he complain? Did he ask for something for himself? “We need to strengthen Am Yisrael!” is what he said.
This is the spirit of true gevurah of the people of S’derot. With the thunder and lightning from a welcome rainstorm almost indistinguishable from the flashes of rockets and booms of explosions coming from the Gaza Strip, this is what the people of S’derot had in mind—how to strengthen the Jewish people.
As many as 65 rockets had been fired at the area, and all evening we could hear the iron response of the IDF—helicopter gunships strafing away, round after round of aerial bombing, and the continuous pounding of canons and tanks.
Courage and fortitude was also the topic of the discussion that ensued. Rabbi Dovid Fendel, rosh Yeshivat S’derot, and his former “talmid,” S’derot City Councilman Elad Kalimi, enthusiastically spoke of the ongoing construction in S’derot and about the need to finish “Beit HaGevura”—the new S’derot Visitor’s Center and other important projects in the city. Naftali Bennett responded by telling a bit about the day’s three major events in the Knesset: The passing of the Referendum Law, which, according to Bennett, has created an insurmountable barrier to ever exchanging land for peace; the Governance Law, geared towards streamlining both the Knesset and the Cabinet; and the “Equal Burden” Law, whose main purpose they claimed was allowing Haredi youth who weren’t learning to freely enter the job market without having to serve over the next three years. There was no talk of fear or of hate—it was all about construction and pride in the country and in our heritage.
Naftali Bennett closed by saying how the spirit of S’derot and the spirit of the Hesder Yeshiva were so important in inspiring the population at large. “We need to bring them all back and be real Jews!” he concluded. v