"We are experiencing a war of attrition. There's no ceasefire here," said Eshkol Council head Haim Yalin. "We've just been through another night where parents and their children didn't sleep but are expected to function the following morning."
- Hamas clip shows rockets fired from populated area
- 20 rockets hit south since Sunday night
- Southern residents: We're living on borrowed time
Yalin called on the government to restore calm to the region. "Residents of the south deserve a normal life," he said.
Liat Biton, a single mother of two, is starting to reconsider her choice of residence. Born in Sderot, she moved to Central Israel but later returned to the south. "I returned when I was pregnant and a month later Operation Cast Lead began," she said.
Rami Negbi. 'More aid money is not the answer' (Photo: Roee Idan)
"Now is the first time that the thought that maybe I shouldn't be living here has crossed my mind. The south has been forgotten. When the rocket fire reached Beersheba and Ashdod we thought they would do something, but they didn't."
The south's residents, who have become accustomed to enduring incessant rocket fire, are now beginning to show signs of fatigue. On average, the Eshkol Regional Council sees three rockets hit its territory every day. New families continue to make homes in the area but despair is slowly seeping in.
An average of three rockets a day (Photo: AFP)
"We used to pride ourselves on our fortitude but now we just feel exhausted," said Merav Cohen from Ein Hashlosha. "Our routine is a permanent state of emergency. We’re fed up. It's no way to live.
"We're not free citizens. Our lives are dictated by text messages telling us whether to enter the shelter or leave, whether to be 15 seconds away from a shelter or not, whether school is on or off."
Cohen said that this tough routine has caused her children to show physical signs of anxiety. "My eight-year-old daughter shivers uncontrollably every time a rocket lands.
"The kids can’t take it anymore. They don’t want to sleep in their beds because there's a good chance they would have to wake up and go into a fortified room. Fortitude has been replaced with exhaustion, fear and anxiety."
More residents seek help
Eshkol Council spokeswoman Ronit Minker said the recent escalation had seen an increase in the number residents calling the council for help.
"I see greater weariness, less willingness to endure, and much more criticism of the situation."
A social worker added that the council is also getting calls from new residents who "are already tired of the situation."
"Sadly this is our routine," said Rami Negbi, a security officer in one of the towns. "We feel that there's a different country north of Ashkelon. A few millions for more shelters is not the solution. It's not normal to raise children in a fortified room. "
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