At 7am there was an alarm. We came back from the neighborhood shelter to find our window broken and 5 “rottweilers” inside, armed with a Lau missile, AK-47s and grenades. My son is a police officer and all I cared about was that they wouldn’t see him because I was sure they would hurt him first. They started saying “Allahu Akbar, I’m a shahid,” held a grenade over my head and told us to go upstairs. My husband and I were together. In the meantime a few police officers arrived and started negotiating with them to let me out. They wouldn’t do it. They said the name of some prisoner they wanted released and said they would only let me go then. I spoke to them, asking them, “did you have any coffee or tea?” I wanted to distract them. I told the policemen outside, one of whom was my son, to get them something to eat and drink. It felt like we were in some kind of dream. At noon I asked them “do you want to have lunch?” to distract them because I was afraid that if they felt hungry, my husband and I would be doomed. I tried talking to them, saying “we’re brothers, don’t do this”- but one of them replied “no, I’m a shahid” and pointed the gun at my husband’s head. I said to my husband “come, sit with me, we’ll say the ‘Shema Yisrael’ prayer and god will be with us”.
At some point my husband said “Rachel, that’s it, they’re going to shoot us.” A policeman named Alex spoke to the terrorist and told him, “release Rachel to us, you’ll have David as collateral, and we’ll give you a phone to talk to your wife and kids,” and he said “no, if everyone dies there’s no need to talk to my kids. If we die, so will you and so will Rachel and David.” I asked them what they do, and how old they are. I told them I would teach them Lior Narkis songs, and I gave them food and drinks. I was afraid if they got hungry they would start shooting.
I saw my son signaling me not to say that he is my son. One of the officers asked how many terrorists there were, and I put my hand on my head, gesturing “5” with my hand. One of the terrorists warned me and said, “Rachel, dir balak (watch out), don’t do anything stupid.” I told him that my head just hurt.
“I started feeling hopeless, I said to Alex, ‘maybe I should just tell them to shoot me’”
One of the terrorists came down, and the officers shot him and injured another. In the meantime I said I would bribe the wounded one. I brought bandages and mended his hand, telling him, “don’t worry, go to sleep. Do you want something to eat or drink?” He asked for water. The policemen brought him canned pineapple and I said, “you look pale, eat something sweet and you’ll feel better.” All the while the grenade is on my head, the gun is pointed at me, and the Lau missile is also there. I said to myself, “dear god, what am I going to do?” So I told him – “tell me what time it is,” and he said it’s 4pm. Every once in a while the terrorist says to Alex the officer “dir balak, dir balak,” warning him not to do anything silly, and the officer calms him down. The terrorists kept looking out the window to see if more help was coming to rescue us. I started feeling hopeless, I said to Alex, “maybe I should just tell them to shoot me, I’m losing it,” and Alex said, “Rachel it will be ok! Your son asked if you ate,” reminding me that my son knows I’m here and he’s coming.
I think my son made a map of the house for the special forces.
At 2:30am I was sitting on the couch. The terrorists were next to us. The special forces came in through the balcony and the roof. I asked them how did you know there’s an entrance from the roof? They said they sent a drone earlier.
I covered myself and my husband jumped to protect me.
They killed all the terrorists and we managed to get out. I don’t know how I got out. I didn’t even have my shoes on.
I told the soldiers that they are heroes, they gave me my life. One of them told me, “no, we are the soldiers, you are the hero! The way you listened to them and gave them food and water.” I don’t know how I did it. They sat right next to me when the SWAT team shot them. I have no idea how I got out alive.