Eric Yellin is an Israeli blogger who lives in Sderot close to the border with Gaza. The town is often the target of Hamas rockets. He describes his efforts to reach out to Palestinians on the other side of the border.
This text below is a phonetic transcript of a radio story broadcast by PRI's THE WORLD. It has been created on deadline by a contractor for PRI. The transcript is included here to facilitate internet searches for audio content. Please report any transcribing errors to email@example.com. This transcript may not be in its final form, and it may be updated. Please be aware that the authoritative record of material distributed by PRI's THE WORLD is the program audio.
LISA MULLINS: Over the past few months Sameh has been in contact with another blogger, Eric Yellin, an Israeli. Yellin is older, he's 43. He lives in Sderot close to the border with Gaza. The town is often the target of Hamas rockets, but Eric Yellin and others in his community have been reaching out to their Palestinian neighbors.
ERIC YELLIN: A lot of it is sharing our own stories and our own pain, which is very relevant to the situation. Many people in our region have been living in fear, have been living in trauma. Before the beginning of the war we experienced maybe one or two rockets a day, sometimes three and probably no more than that. Then this time all of the southern part of Israel is being targeted and there are probably anywhere between 40 and 70 rockets a day. You know, my 11-year-old sons were 3 years old when the rockets started hitting and my eldest was 6 so, you know, most of their lives they've been experiencing this. This is not something new. You know, my message to them is, "You know, even though we are afraid, even though we have to run into our safe room..." By the way, that is something we have and on the other, and the Palestinians do not have, "We need to be angry about these rockets falling on one hand, on the other hand we need to try to work together with people who, like us, believe that there are other ways to solve the situation. These are real people on the other side of the border; these are not people that should be called our enemy." So this is what they grow up with, this is what they experience. On one hand they experience the pain of the war and the fear; on the other hand they're very much aware that on the other side of this border or human beings just like you, just like me.
MULLINS: Eric Yellin, an Israeli in the border town of Sderot, thanks to our colleagues at Youth Radio for their assistance with this story.