Skip to main content

Israeli: 'How would you feel if your children were constantly scared?'

By Frederik Pleitgen, CNN
November 16, 2012 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
An Israeli woman and children sit inside a bomb shelter on November 14, 2012 in Netivot, Israel.
An Israeli woman and children sit inside a bomb shelter on November 14, 2012 in Netivot, Israel.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Israeli town 9 miles from Gaza has had 20 rockets aimed at it
  • Resident: Gazans don't want peace
  • Rocket attacks occur more often in the morning, men at pizza shop say

Ashkelon, Israel (CNN) -- The rockets come mostly in the morning, the men say, but many of the people of the town of Ashkelon are always afraid.

"We can't go on like this," Mayor Benny Vaknin said. "We have 131,000 people here and 26,000 children. They are constantly under threat."

Rafel Moshe, who was playing backgammon at a pizza place downtown, echoed the mayor's thoughts.

"They don't want peace," said Moshe, speaking of the people in Gaza. "How would you feel if your children were constantly scared?"

Israel at a tipping point?
Are Israeli ground forces moving into Gaza?
Israel, Hamas trade shots on Twitter
Blasts interrupt interview in Gaza

Ashkelon, about 15 kilometers from Gaza, has suffered nearly two dozen rocket attacks since the back-and-forth firing of missiles and rockets between the Israeli military and militants in Gaza began Wednesday.

Fear, celebration in Gaza City

Vaknin said 20 rockets were launched at Ashkelon in the past 24 hours. The city has an air defense system, the Iron Dome, which is designed to shoot down incoming rockets.

At Porto Pizza, the backgammon players said the worst attacks were in the morning, but as a CNN crew found, the rockets could come at any time. Just before 1 a.m the air-raid sirens went off and then there was a noise just a few kilometers away that sounded like an impact from a rocket. No injuries were reported.

The city's residents have experience dealing with how to quickly move to air raid shelters and some, like Moshe, have a "Red Alert" app for their smart phones that tracks rocket attacks.

Israeli warplanes could be heard in the sky and, farther in the distance, the sound of shelling. It was unclear if it was outgoing rockets from Gaza or bombs being dropped.

Another group of four jets flew over the city a few hours later as the crew was filing a report.

What's behind the conflict

"We don't want war but there are people all the time shooting at Israel and we are quiet -- we stay quiet -- and the world doesn't see the truth," Moshe said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Israel-Gaza conflict
Are you in the region? Share photos and video of what you are witnessing, but please do not expose yourself or others to a dangerous situation.
Follow CNNArabic for the latest news and analysis from the Middle East and rest of the world.
November 24, 2012 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
As the dust settles over Gaza and Israel amid relative calm, analysts consider who were the winners and losers from the conflict.
November 23, 2012 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
Palestinian Authority leaders renewed calls for unity with their Hamas-led rivals after the latest Israel-Gaza conflict, but the fighting may have left Hamas with the upper hand.
The relentless pace of the Israeli airstrike on Gaza gave the country's military time to make a significant dent in the offensive capability of Hamas, the Israeli military said.
November 22, 2012 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
The brief but bloody Gaza conflict marks a clear wake-up call to both sides on the need to start serious talks beyond the new cease-fire.
November 22, 2012 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
However crude the calculation, the winners and losers in the Israel-Gaza conflict are already reshaping political alliances in the Middle East.
November 22, 2012 -- Updated 1428 GMT (2228 HKT)
In the background of the drama playing out in Gaza and southern Israel, an election looms. On January 22, Israelis will go to the polls.
November 26, 2012 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
Four-year-old Yosef lies in a hospital bed with curiosity gleaming in his eyes as he listens to a family friend tell him the age-old story of Jonah and the whale.
November 22, 2012 -- Updated 1958 GMT (0358 HKT)
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has won praise for his effort to bring about a cease-fire highlight the delicate balancing act he faces.
-- Updated GMT ( HKT)
Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas have been engaged in a bitter, decades-long conflict over Gaza.
November 24, 2012 -- Updated 1855 GMT (0255 HKT)
What is the group, where did it come from and what does it hope to achieve by its rocket attacks on Israeli targets? CNN explains.
ADVERTISEMENT