On Shabbat morning, I was relaxing and enjoying the final day of Sukkot with my family in the Mediterranean coastal city of Nahariya when Operation Swords of Iron was declared. We were on holiday and completely unprepared for this. Just recently, we had spent five days in a hotel in Eilat and were planning to return that night to Netanya, so that the children could go to school. But of course, schools were canceled and after we heard that Netanya was one of the cities affected by Hamas rocket fire, we decided to sit out the war in Nahariya, thus making me an internally displaced refugee.
However, because the situation is so bad in Netanya, the 14-year-old boy who was watching my animals felt too scared to go and feed them. So, I had to leave my children with my late husband’s aunt and go on an emergency rescue operation to save my rabbits and birds from starving to death. I took a train that was almost empty to Netanya. The second that I left the train station, I got a notification from the Home Front Command that train access will be restricted.
Fortunately, the father of one of the kids that studies with my son is a taxi driver and he agreed to not only take me home, but to pack a car and bring me back to Nahariya. I rescued not only my rabbits and birds, but also salvaged whatever food that could be used in Nahariya and took a bunch of toys with me as well, so the children would not be bored out of school during the war.
As I was driving on the way north, we saw a car that was hit by shrapnel. We also saw tons of police stationed everywhere. The taxi driver told me that if I had returned from my vacation home, I would struggle to buy food in Netanya, as all businesses that lacked a bomb shelter were closed, including the local market. I also would have struggled to work, as my brother-in-law was drafted into the army, my nannies were too afraid to come to my house, and there is no other relative that could have helped me with my kids.
Today, I am living with my late husband’s aunt in Nahariya, but most of my belongings I left behind. I have no professional clothes and gold and pearls to wear if I have a TV interview, as I left those behind in Netanya. I also left behind all of my paintings, my photo albums, my beautiful carpets, my fish, my plants, my books and everything that meant something to me. The furniture I do not care to lose because it is all old and needed to be replaced anyways.
But if a rocket hits my home and destroys my gold, my pearls, my photo albums, my beautiful carpets, my professional clothes, my books and my paintings, I will be devastated. And if all of my fish and plants die, I will also be sad, as these are things that I cared about. However, at least my rabbits and my birds I was able to evacuate to safety. I am now safe together with my children, rabbits and birds in Nahariya, and that is the most important thing.
As of this morning, more than 900 people have been killed, 2,700 people have been injured and over 100 people have been kidnapped. Hamas invaded at least 22 locations in Southern Israel and fired thousands of rockets into the Jewish state, in an area spanning from Netanya to Demona. Rockets reached the Jerusalem area as well.
Of course, there are people who have suffered far more than me. Over 250 were murdered by Hamas at a music festival. They were young people who just wanted to go out and have fun. There are others who have relatives who have been kidnapped, killed or wounded. But that does not make being an internally displaced person any easier.
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