Sderot mayor vows to keep city forever

Sderot’s mayor sounded a defiant tone in a conference call with American Jewish leaders.”We will keep this city forever,” Eli Moyal told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Thursday, according to a press release. “Nobody will drive us out. It doesn’t matter how long it will be or how tough it will be.”Sderot has been plagued by Kassam rockets fired by Palestinians in the bordering Gaza Strip . The Negev city has been the target of Kassams for seven years, but the intensity of attacks has increased over the past two weeks. A video conference with Moyal was interrupted by rocket fire, forcing the evacuation of the studio and the continuation of the exchange by telephone. The conference had been slated for May 21 but was rescheduled due to Kassams.Moyal said half of Sderot’s residents had sought shelter elsewhere in the country, leading to a 75 percent reduction in attendance at schools and a 25 percent reduction at workplaces. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice president of the Presidents Conference, told JTA his organization was working to bring Sderot residents to the United States to tell their stories. “Frankly, there’s a sort of ho-hum interest on the part of media generally,” Hoenlein said, adding that even the Jewish community has not made assistance to Sderot a top priority.

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