How Can You Teach Civics in Sderot?

Tal Mehi left his home yesterday morning to take his two young children, Zvika, 7, and Ro'i, 2, to school and kindergarten. But they didn't get there - because the "Code Red" warning, which recently replaced the "Red Dawn" announcement, stopped them in their tracks in the stairwell of their building, like terrified deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.

Six years have gone by and Sderot remains a city under constant alert and bombardment - a city fleeing inward.

At the same time, Mayor Eli Moyal was on his way to Jerusalem to "arrange matters" at the various government ministries; he backtracked immediately.

It is very difficult to sort out the exhausting matters of his city, which is crying out for relief and has very little to show for its calls.

Over the past two years, I have been teaching civics at the city's high school. And what is taught and learned in a civics class?

Among other things, one learns about governmental and administrative procedures, about human and civil rights, about coexistence and tolerance, and about equal opportunities and social solidarity.

The students, however, are not always ready to understand what they are being made to listen to: The government and administration in Jerusalem are far away and aloof, coexistence and tolerance under the shadow of the Qassam rockets are a fable without a moral, human rights stained red are an abstract and inconceivable concept.

And what of social solidarity? Sderot feels deserted and abandoned - as if the rest of the country has tired of it and its suffering.

And civics is not the only subject that is tough to teach; take arithmetics, for example.

Who is counting anymore?

When it comes to the number of rockets and warnings and casualties, who is counting? When you add and subtract, multiply and divide, you always get to the same result of shock and fear.

No one can teach like that; no one can live like that.

And now, following the latest attack, the Israel Defense Forces will go into the Gaza Strip for the umpteenth time, and widen the circle of death and destruction even more.

The barrages on Sderot will only intensify; salvation for the children of Sderot will not come from the misery of the children of Gaza; Sderot will not be rebuilt from the ruins of Beit Hanun.

What real good will come out of all the contemptible and foolish acts of revenge on the part of both sides?

The time has come for both sides to call in an international buffer force so the children will be able to go safely to kindergarten and school rather than flee for their lives.