Distracting them from the high tensions due to the constant threat on the town, Sderot residents enjoyed the afternoon with the visiting bikers. Doron Geffen, 44, from Hod Hasharon, who was one of the organizers of the motorcycle trip, said, “This is an apolitical trip for bikers from across Israel to show solidarity with Sderot residents who are suffering from the non-stop Qassam attacks, which doesn’t let them live a normal routine.”
Dozens join convoy (Photo: Amir Cohen)
“The idea was to embark on a solidarity ride with Sderot residents who suffer from the rockets falling on them day and night. We can’t even begin to understand what they’re going through, but we can certainly communicate the message that we support them. We hung signs and balloons on our bikes, and our long decorated convoy gave the feeling up festivities and brought residents a bit of happiness. Our motto is ‘Be strong and brave – we are with you,’ and we even printed out stickers that say ‘I was in Sderot and had a rocket of a time.’
Geffen noted that the solidarity ride was advertised on forums and various internet sites. “One person told the next, and happily a lot of people came,” he said. “We set out from Tel Aviv and on the way people from all areas joined us, so we had a convoy of about 100 bikers.”
Riding in solidarity (Photo: Amir Cohen)
“When we arrived in Sderot we were received happily by the residents. We talked with them and afterwards they invited us to the pool and Netiv Haasarah. Everyone who participated had a good feeling and great satisfaction from the trip. It really makes us feel good to know that we made people happy,” he said.
Sderot to protest in Jerusalem
On Monday Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal and town residents plan to go on a three-day march to Jerusalem, where they will set up a protest camp outside the government's offices. Most town members however seem indifferent to their mayor's plan of action and few are expected to join him.
Michael Amsalem, head of the municipality's opposition, said he believes Moyal is out of touch with the local publics. "Shutting down the town and blackening it out also ended up hurting the residents. They knew it wouldn't be effective, but insisted on going on with it nevertheless."
"The same goes for the march. The municipality's employees were asked to attend. And I suppose some of them would do so, because they don't have much of a choice, but I don't think they’ll be much participation. People are fed up. Unfortunately there is a disconnection between the leadership and the public," he added.
Tali Tzin contributed to the report