On November 11th, American University’s pro-Israel group Emet, hosted Noam Bedein, the director of the Sderot Media Center. Noam Bedein is a photo journalist who uses his expertise in photography to tell the story of the lives of those living in this southern Israeli city under constant rocket fire. Bedein’s work showcases the challenges and unique living situations of the people in Sderot and their fight for normalcy. Bedein’s visually amazing presentation gave the event attendees a new and, for most of them, never-before-seen view of the struggles of the people in Sderot.
The students at American University were shocked to hear about and see in video the 15 seconds that those in Sderot have to run from rocket fire. This video sat with the students through out Bedein’s presentation and served as the symbol of the threat in the back of the mind of those who live in Sderot. While the thought of these 15 seconds was stuck in the minds of the event attendees, Bedein went on to talk about the hopes of those in Sderot and the development that was going on in the town.
What was more powerful than either the video or the pictures of construction cranes building new apartment buildings was a series of drawings that Bedein showed the audience. The drawings were all done by children living in Sderot. The drawing were about life in Sderot and depicted the rockets and the feelings of the children living there. The drawings that stood out the most were the ones that were about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, particularly those in Gaza who live where the rockets aimed at the Sderot children were being fired from.
Bedein’s messages of fear, hope and resilience and visual aides resonated with the attendees and gave them the human side of the rockets going into Israel. Bedein’s presentation came just months after the end of Operation Protective Edge, which was criticized by many on the campus. Those same people, however, did not recognize the damage done to the Israeli civilian population who was also subjected to rocket fire. Bedein was able to shed some light on the suffering of Israeli civilians during the operation, thus making it so that the attendees could understand the Israeli side to which they had not been exposed.
This was contributed by the 2014-2015 American University CAMERA Fellow, Rachel Wolf.