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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Professor witnessed Israel-Hamas conflict firsthand during summer

Battalion reporter Samantha Latta sits down with statistics professor Michael Sherman, who visited Israel during a summer that saw conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Sherman’s wife, who is Israeli, and their two daughters traveled to Israel before him and spent two months there.
THE BATTALION: How did you feel about traveling there during a time of conflict?
SHERMAN: When my wife and children went, the attacks had not started yet. We had some discussion on whether I should go while Israel was under attack. I felt like I wanted to be with my family so that’s why I went. Often in Israel we can travel freely to friends, relatives, to see some ancient sites there. We could not do that very much on this visit, with a few thousand missiles landing all over southern Israel.
THE BATTALION: What was it like when you were there?
SHERMAN: This trip was a lot different for all of us. For some reason, although Israel has been involved in many battles to preserve its existence, this was the first time such a battle had happened in the summer. But this was the first time my family and I were together in Israel during a war, so that was a different experience. Israel’s a very small country — it’s about the size of the state of New Jersey. For that reason when some Israeli adversaries decided to start launching missiles, those missiles often cover a large proportion of the country.
THE BATTALION: Did you have a personal experience with missile threats?
SHERMAN: What happens in Israel is they have a system of sirens all over the country. The sirens are very loud, and those sirens direct people, ‘Right now, get to a shelter.’ Those went off for two to three weeks; they went off four or five times in Ramat Gan.
THE BATTALION: Where did you take shelter?
SHERMAN: When those sirens go off, my wife’s mother’s apartment is where we stay. We go to the stairwell. The reason we go to the stairwell is because the stairwell is in the middle of the building and if, God forbid, Hamas’ rockets would hit the building we would hopefully be relatively safe. We could occasionally, from the window, see the rockets whizzing by and see them being exploded by Israel’s defensive system.
THE BATTALION: Was there any damage?
SHERMAN: While I was there, a few Israelis were killed by missile attacks and there was a great deal of structural damage. Most people flee to good shelter. Thank God that Israel has built these structures and this defense, so relatively few people are killed or injured. A lot of property was damaged — houses, cars. Israel’s missile defense — this is the first war where they were able to intercept most of these missiles coming from Arabs that are attacking Israel, but it doesn’t make the missile evaporate. It breaks it up into dozens of smaller pieces. What that does is make sure there will not be one major impact but there are lots of minor impacts from them. While we were there, a 4-year-old boy was hit by one of the pieces and killed.
THE BATTALION: After your experience this summer, would you go back to a similar situation?
SHERMAN: The honest answer is, I’m not sure. I would still like to go, but there would be some pause. Some.

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