Children living near Gaza strip showing psychological toll

(CBS News) ASHKELON, Israel - Iron Dome, Israel's projectile defense system, did not protect a school and a house today a coastal city in southern Israel.

For the people who live there, every day life includes having 45 seconds to make it to a safe area if they hear a siren. The sirens are activated by the Iron Dome defense system.

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Two schools in Ashkelon suffered direct hits today. No one was hurt because no children living within a 25-mile radius of Gaza go to class these days.

The Hamas rockets are unguided. Where they land is random. So, in the same way that American kids have fire drills, schools here have rocket drills.

"That's not how we want to live and certainly not how we want to raise children and families," said Carol Erdheim.

Erdheim is a child psychologist at a hotline center which counsels parents whose children have behavior problems brought on by the war. She said children's fears is why most parents are calling in.

"They see their children crying, going back to acting in more infantile ways. That's also scary for a parent if a child who doesn't bedwet anymore starts bedwetting again. Does it mean something is wrong with him?

If that's what happening to children in Israel who have warning systems and places to hide, what about children in Gaza who have neither?

"I would love it if some day I could meet my equivalents from Gaza... to compare notes and to see what we can do to help build up an emotionally healthier generation," she saida.

The sirens went off at least four times today in Ashkelon. There were no casualties, at least of the visible kind.

The Israeli military is poised along the border ready for an invasion of Gaza, but the government seems willing to give peace a chance. They've approved sending envoys to Cairo, and they're waiting to see how peace talks play out.

  • Allen Pizzey

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