Rabbi David Fendel, the rosh yeshivah of the Hesder Yeshiva of Sderot, spent this past Shabbos in Atlantic Beach. He has helped develop Sderot into a thriving and bustling metropolis for the past 30 years. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are graduates of Rabbi Fendel’s yeshivah. He has over 2,000 alumni. He is a remarkable and extraordinary man. I have visited Sderot multiple times on my missions to Israel. Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman reminded me that we went to Sderot together in 2014. Nassau County will be partnering with Sderot in the near future.

Sderot has sustained thousands of Kassam rockets over the years. Two weeks ago, a rocket went through the roof of a home. The more the rockets fly, the more Sderot grows and expands. Because of the rockets, the Israeli government and philanthropists around the world have gotten involved. Iron Dome has been effective in preventing loss of life. Despite the rocket fire, the Jews of Sderot have no fear. They are a fully integrated community comprised of Ashkenazim, Sefardim, and Ethiopians; they all get along. Sderot is not dissimilar to all of the towns and villages throughout Israel. It is a veritable microcosm of Israel at 75.
Sderot is less than a kilometer from the Gaza border. I remember seeing a terror tunnel that Hamas had built into Sderot on one of my visits. Rabbi Fendel has made the yeshivah’s study hall rocket-proof. He has developed a cultural park nearby and is currently working on building a girls’ school.

Sderot is the frontline for Arab aggression. It has to be protected just like any other town in Israel. Israel at 75 is stronger than ever. Rabbi David Fendel is a modern-day hero. Israel has a lot to be proud about. The next 75 years should see Israel grow exponentially. It is an absolute miracle that it has become the great country it has become. Sderot is a good example.

Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.