Like most people in Israel, I awoke on Saturday to sirens wailing in the distance and repeated explosions. We weren’t particularly afraid, as we had experienced similar things before, so I went to the synagogue without thinking much about it.
In the synagogue we celebrated Simchat Torah, the festival of “the joy of Torah,” and the prayer was very long. We danced with the Torah scroll, sang and tried to be as happy as possible. This holiday is particularly unhealthy for children because sweets are thrown at them in the synagogue.
See also: The 7th of October 2023, Simchat Torah
Because it was Shabbat and a holiday, I, like most of the country’s religious Jews, couldn’t read the news.
But the war didn’t pass us by either. Because Beit Shemesh is pretty much in the middle of the country, it rarely comes under rocket fire, but on Saturday the siren sounded six times. Each time we crowded into the farthest corner of the synagogue, which is located in the basement of a building.
However, my wife, who had stayed home with the children, spent a few hours in our safe room. Our three girls hugged their mother in panic and fear and refused to leave the security room for hours after the sirens blared, sometimes every 10 minutes.
Even when the sirens finally stopped sounding, they were constantly afraid and didn’t leave the house. The constant rumblings and explosions that could be heard in the distance and the military planes and helicopters heading to Gaza flying over our heads all day long gave us an idea that the situation was extremely serious.
What a shock it was when we were finally able to read the news that evening!
The reports and images were terrible, but most of all I was surprised that such an invasion was even possible. My first reaction was anger, disappointment and, for the first time since living in Israel, some fear.
Analysts have long been warning of a multi-front war involving Hamas in the south, Hezbollah in the north, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and the Israeli Arabs in our midst. Did this attack show that Israel’s strength may be a delusion? Can Israel perhaps even lose such a multi-front war?
On Saturday in the synagogue I read the book of Daniel, which is set against the backdrop of the destruction of Israel. Is something like this possible again?
Perhaps the long-awaited war between Gog and Magog, which is supposed to take place shortly before the end of our time, will now begin.
These and similar thoughts were probably circulating in the minds of many Israelis. They didn’t stop even when I went to sleep. Yesterday’s attack was different from the skirmishes I have seen before. The first round of the war clearly went to the enemy.
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