Exactly a week ago, Saturday, on the evening of Simchat Torah, at 6:30 a.m., a ‘red alert’ siren sounded.
We gathered our two-year-old daughter Kesem and seven-year-old Gefen and together joined ten-year-old Sylan, who was already in our safe room. We were still groggy from sleep, but in a few seconds, we started to hear a torrent of bullets in the air.
Aryeh and I locked eyes and instantly understood. It was impossible to miss; this was a terrorist attack.
Optimistically, I told Sylan not to worry, assuring her there was no chance they were inside our kibbutz. We were behind a fence, and the army would soon eliminate the threat. But who thought all along that there was no fence anymore? Who imagined the hundreds of terrorists?
Everything happened so quickly. Yet, so slowly. There was gunfire in every direction. Broken glass was everywhere. We struggled to open the window of the safe room. Arabic voices echoed outside, then a grenade explosion. The door of the safe room swung open from the explosion. Everything became smoky, and we knew it was over.
For a moment there we could practically see them as they came to enter the room.
It was a fear of facing brutality and evil head-on. Gefen cowered in a corner. Sylan screamed towards the heavens, hugging me tightly. “I love you,” she whispered into my ear. I covered Kesem, who was asleep, hoping they wouldn’t see her, and I drew my last breath.
And Aryeh? In a moment of great audacity and divine intervention, he managed to take control of the door and close it shut!
What a miracle we experienced. What a miracle!
As all this was happening, I informed our friends on the kibbutz via our WhatsApp group. They couldn’t believe what I was telling them. They thought maybe I was imagining things. Why would there be gunfire? A grenade? Who could’ve anticipated this? Who thought of this?
In retrospect, I realized that our army had been waiting and preparing for this exact scenario. We were the ones who waited for hours, hearing our friends pleading for help, sitting in the dark, terrified. We felt abandoned, lost, powerless, and completely forsaken. There was no responding voice. Just an inner voice saying that it would be over in a moment. A moment that stretched into ten hours.
“We took along some friends whose cars were no longer operational and hit the road. Piling on top of one another. No windows. All the car windows shattered. Car full of glass. We were terrified.”
Ten hours in the safe room without any response. Ten hours of terror that you only see in movies. Ten hours where friends screamed for help, and we were unable to respond. Ten hours of waiting for a signal, without any sign, in deafening silence.
At some point, the army arrived and asked us to open the door. We sat there frightened and refused to believe it was them; we continued to sit in silence until they threatened to blow up the door. At that moment, we shouted back that we were in the safe room and not to detonate it. With great fear, we unlocked the door and saw the light. It was indeed our soldiers who embraced us with care, but we didn’t realize how much darkness awaited us outside.
A few families, including our own, were gathered together until we could be evacuated to a safe place. At 8:00 PM, we left for our cars, having confirmed they were not booby-trapped. Such devastation. Such destruction. We took along some friends whose cars were no longer operational and hit the road. Piling on top of one another. No windows. All the car windows shattered. Car full of glass. We were terrified. Highway 232 was dark, full with burnt cars. Bodies lay strewn
on the ground. A tank was ablaze. Slowly, we began to hear more stories, and news about our friends started to come in. The brain tried to process it, but the heart was breaking.
“I am inundated with fear and anxiety like I never knew before.”
It will take us some time to put together the pieces, both external and internal. It will take time for us to comprehend the immensity of the loss.
I am heartbroken to the depths of my soul: for our friends who are no longer with us, for the shattered families, for the little children who saw and heard everything, and for properties that were destroyed. I grieve for the national security that was challenged and for the home we once had.
I am inundated with fear and anxiety like I never knew before. Nonetheless, I can’t forget about the miracles that happened to us and many others. There were many. The divine providence. I am profoundly thankful and full of hope for everything that happened. Because even though we’re in the dark right now, the day will soon dawn, and we’ll realize that everything happened for our higher good.
Thanks to the people of Israel for their determination to protect and embrace. Only love will triumph!
“We need help”
“They’re throwing grenades at our house”
“They’re not grenades
Libi calm down we can hear it in the entire Kibbutz
Maybe it’s the Iron dome [Israeli air defense system] I don’t know what it is”
“Who would throw grenades I think the noise is probably from the Iron dome”
“No Lilly they threw something that opened the door to the saferoom”