Residents of the city of Ashdod in Israel's south tried to resume normalcy Thursday morning, after some 190 rockets were fired at the city during the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense.
Though a ceasefire was announced between Hamas and Israel, Ashdod residents, who have seen damage and injuries during the operation, are still skeptic that region will find some peace.
"Routine is still on hold," one resident said. "In the meantime we're trying to start breathing and really take in everything we've been through this week.
Yossi Dahan and his friends, who convened at a boardwalk café on Thursday, all agreed that the operation was a failure and that the lull feels illusionary.
'The lull is an illusion.' Rocket hit in Ashdod (Photo: Ido Erez)
"We didn’t want it to end this way," Dahan, a businessman and a father of two, told Ynet. Eight days we kept silent and formed a united home front, but we ended up not winning this war and Hamas got what it wanted. As a voter of the Likud I tell you I won't be voting for Netanyahu anymore."
Ashdod cafe (Photo: Ido Erez)
His friend, Michael Efrat, agreed: "We should have uprooted that tree, but all we did was mow the lawn a little. Ashdod is quiet this morning, but we hear there are sirens in the Gaza vicinity communities."
Their friend Yoni Dahan added: "Pressure's off a little and people can breath, but we were expecting a different outcome."
Gaza op also caused economic damage. Evgeny and Katie Trachman (Photo: Ido Erez)
Michael Zikri, however, expressed a different sentiment: "The operation's goals were achieved; the IDF
did a good job, created deterrence and saved lives. We're aware of the price of a ground offensive; no one wants to see a mother losing a child or soldiers being killed, so I'm happy that the operation ended the way it did. After a chaotic week, our kids can finally go outside and walk around the city. Today you'll see the city coming back to life after a week of inactivity."
But Dudi Illouz insisted that "The lull is an illusion; there's no sense of normalcy. We go about our days expecting the next siren to go off. There's no relief, just anger.
"The rockets will be back soon, Hamas
will rearm and as soon as they stock up we'll be hearing the sirens again and find ourselves running for shelter. It's all politics; the Americans said they're not negotiating with terrorists but we were forced to."
On top of the fear infiltrating all daily activities, the Gaza operation caused economic damages to many residents of the south. Evgeny and Katie Trachman immigrated to Israel
in the 1990s, but said that financial problems coupled with constant state of war might drive them out of the country.
"My wife goes to job interviews, but when they hear she's from the south they don’t even call back," Evgeny said. "Many of our friends are leaving for financial reasons, and the security issues might be our last straw."
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