It was 6:32 AM on Saturday, October 7th. We woke up to the sound of sirens blazing.
We immediately ran to the shelter, and gathered our kids, Noam and Itamar, quickly closing the iron window.
A few moments after the first siren, we felt that this time something was different – the sirens were more intense, and denser, they targeted a larger range, with constant rockets firing.
I told the children to get dressed quickly and to put on shoes, I wanted them to be ready to run to the car, and the plan was to drive away if there was a lull with the rockets (I was so naive… ).
I left the kids in the shelter to quickly pack clothes in a bag in case we could run.
Lee, my spouse, was already dressed in his uniform and armed, standing in the front of the house. We anxiously wait trying to understand what caused this attack.
Nothing in the news
8:10 AM I go to our bedroom to take clothes for Lee and me, and suddenly we hear bursts of gunfire nearby, very, very close.
We look at each other.
Suddenly between the bursts, we hear shouts in Arabic.
We look at each other again.
At that moment we understood, they are here. Not over the fence beyond the barricades, here on the outskirts of my own house!
I run to the shelter and close myself in with the kids. I lay the children on the floor and throw blankets over them, I give Yuval a tear gas and a knife, and a baseball bat to Noam.
The kids looked at me with fear in their eyes, even our dogs understood, everyone was quiet, no one was moving an inch. Suddenly we heard, bursts of gunfire right next to the door of the shelter, I heard Lee’s footsteps He entered the shelter, closed the door, and said to me:
“I killed a terrorist who tried to enter through the window”.
Just as he finishes the sentence, we hear a huge explosion, they fired an RPG directly at us.
The shelter door withstands.
Bursts of shooting at the door and also on the shelter’s iron window.
The room is filled with the sharp scent of burnt dust.
My ears are ringing.
It takes us a minute or two to recover.
Electricity is out now, it’s dark.
Lee gives me a gun, and we both aim our weapons at the door. Whoever or whatever decides to enter, won’t get past us. Without saying a word, both Lee and I agreed – we will fight until the last bullet.
In the meantime, I try to call for help. I try to make a call to the security coordinator, send a voice message, I send messages to the kibbutz group. I said, “Help we have terrorists in our house!”
Another minute passed by, I don’t know how to explain it, but the terrorist decided to move on. It became very quiet. We felt safe for a moment, but then more and more horrifying messages were sent to the Kibbutz messaging group.
People were pleading for help… “They breached our homes”… “Women, men, hold on to the handle of the bomb shelter door”
Couples with small children.
Houses all around started burning.
All we felt was an overwhelming despair.
No one answered, no one that could help.
We were on our own.
We can’t get out to seek help, don’t know what or who waits for us beyond the door. Even if we get out, what sort of monsters are waiting outside?
How many of them are here?
Who knows… No information is coming from outside. Just reports from other shelters.
The hours passed by, but each minute felt like an eternity.
Fortunately, the children’s systems got into action, a defense mechanism, and they fell asleep, at least they won’t share our fear when they’re asleep.
Updates from the news started coming in, it’s happening in Kibbutzim all over the border with the Gaza Strip.
Ofakim, Sderot, so many more…
They caught us unprepared, smug, arrogant.
The shouts in Arabic continue as well as constant gunfire.
At that point, we figured out that battles were being held, but we didn’t know what the outcome would be.
Around 3 PM the army arrives with the Kibbutz’s security coordinator.
We opened the door and only then we saw the magnitude of the devastation.
The house was destroyed. And I … try to digest and run to give the soldiers water bottles.
I gathered whatever I could, a silver Hanukkah lamp and Kiddush cup, gifts from my late grandmother, and we left, at that moment I realized that we are never going back to that house.
We gather with everyone, hug, cry. We managed to get through a few more hours and finally started talking about evacuation.
We got permission to go back to our homes, and then I remembered and said to Lee “I have to go back to the house, there is something else important we didn’t take”.
Handmade paintings of my late father-in-law.
We leave the kibbutz in a convoy.
I look in the rearview mirror.
Smoke still rising from the Kibbutz factory, covers the sky, dozens of burnt cars with bullet holes tossed along the road.
We look ahead, outside
In a bit, this will be behind us.
We arrive at Be’er Sheva, we pull over.
Take down the bulletproof vests we got from the soldiers.
And at that moment Lee and I burst into tears.
We hug the children.
Can’t digest what we just went through.
Next thing we did was to inform family and friends, we got out.
We survived this hell.
Now that we are safe, a swirl of emotions, what do we do, what not?
How to continue?
We will solve this?
What is certain is that anger grows in me?
This time, let the IDF win!
With all its force and all its power.
Not just as a slogan for a sticker.
But as a statement of fact for the future
We won’t be broken.
We won’t be defeated.