Shaked and Maor Harush, 11-year-old twins from Sderot, saw a Qassam rocket explode a few feet away for them, setting a car ablaze. Since then, fear has become an everyday presence in their lives.
Shaked suffers from the worst of the trauma. She refuses to leave home without her parents. A slamming door makes her jump. Any conversation about the security situation is out of the question when Shaked is around, and her family knows to avoid words like Qassam and Color Red altogether.
Shaked's young cousin, who lives in the center of the country, was not aware of this little detail. While the two were playing in the yard recently, he yelled out "Color Red, Color Red," sending Shaked running into the house. She locked herself in her room and could not stop crying.
"Her cousin didn't think of it, he didn't know, but Shaked took it hard," her father said. "She is in bad shape. She suffers from anxiety all the time."
Shaked is not alone. According to a study conducted by Natal, a trauma center for victims of terror and war, 70% of the kids residing in the town that has been on the receiving end of thousands of rockets in recent years are suffering from at least one symptom of posttraumatic stress. A third of all Sderot's residents suffer from anxiety, and have trouble functioning normally.