Gaza conflict: ‘I make a joke out of the rocket fire to keep baby calm’

By Nathan Jeffay, November 22, 2012
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Like many southern Israel residents, Sderot father-of-four Yigal Levi has mostly stayed at home in recent days. He tried venturing out, away from his shelter, and it terrified him.

The rocket alarm sounded when he was on the street, no shelter in sight, with his 10-year-old son. “I leaned on my child and prayed ‘God please!’ and said that if someone is going to be hurt, let it be me and not him.”

His wife suffers from stress disorder from the rockets, and he often struggles to sleep through the night. “If there’s a loud car noise or even a slamming door, I wake up and run for cover,” he said. Often, the rocket alarm triggers “videos” in his mind of incidents nearby where rockets have caused injury.

Another Sderot man, 27-year-old Yakir Peretz, danced with his one-year-old daughter on the way in to the shelter. “I make a joke out of it and bounce her up and down,” he says.

Does it work?

He says it keeps her calm, but she does not fall for his pretence. “At just one year, she already knows what a ‘colour red’ alarm is,” he lamented.

Last updated: 2:45pm, November 22 2012