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January 1, 2013 9:30 pm

Top Demand for Israeli Home Seekers: A Safe Room

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Damage from a Gaza rocket attack on Israel.

Residents of Israel’s fourth-largest city, Rishon Lezion, are under no illusions that quiet will become a fixture in their lives, despite the ceasefire that has severely limited rocket fire from the Gaza Strip following November’s eight-day recent conflict between Hamas and the Jewish state.

According to an article published in the New York Times on Monday, Ahuva Madmoni, a real estate agent, says that for clients seeking a dwelling, the safety of the space has trumped other, more traditional concerns such as view and proximity to schools. “Today,” Ms. Madmoni said, “the first question of the couples is, ‘Does the apartment have a safe room?'”

The sentiment reflects a concern held by residents in the city who, before the recent Operation Pillar of Defense, wouldn’t have worried about such matters. But during the conflict terrorists in the Gaza Strip were able to fire longer range rockets–one of which hit the western part of Rishon Lezion–unsettling a place used to a reasonable amount of calm.

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“People are looking after their personal factors — they’re so skeptical about the global changing, they say ‘Oh, I’ll worry about my survival,” Ayal Sheffer a 43 year-old publishing executive with three young daughters, told the Times.

“I just want quiet for my children and my country,” he said. But as for the Palestinian Arabs, he added, “I don’t think any contract we’d do with them would give us quiet.”

“We want to pay the price, but we don’t believe in the other side,” Sheffer said.

Another young woman interviewed by the Times expressed her concern for the future. “It’s sometimes worse, sometimes better,” Sofia Turgelan said. “Now it’s quiet, but maybe in six months or one year, it all comes out again.”

The rocket that hit Rishon Lezion slightly injured two people, one of whom was Kfir Rozen, who recalled the experience, “Shrapnel from stones hit me in the shoulder and hip, and I had large bruises,”  he said. “We were very scared at first — this is not something you experience every day.”

Mr. Rozen expressed his disappointment with the fact that Israel had agreed to a cease-fire. “You can’t get to a certain point and then go back — you end up achieving nothing,” Mr. Rozen said. “In the end, we will be dragged into another cycle. At some point, this will repeat itself.”

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