Life in Israel with the ‘Barbarians at the Gate’
By Rolene Marks
I am not the same person I was when I went to sleep last Friday night. Our country is not the same as it was. We will never be the same again. Friday night a nation went to sleep filled with joy. How could we not be joyful? It was the end of Sukkot and we would celebrate Simchat Torah, receiving the Book of Books.
At 6h.30 everything changed. Red alerts on our phones went haywire and what followed was mayhem. Non-stop rockets as far as Netanya, Jerusalem, Modiin and everywhere in between. We are used to rockets. We know what to do. What do we do when Hamas terrorists, who go from house to house, murdering innocent people, setting fire to homes, executing people in the street, slaughtering 260 young revelers at a peace music festival and kidnapping nearly 200, infiltrate our peaceful southern towns and kibbutzim? These are the scenes from horror movies. Except they are not. This is our reality – and we are all struggling to absorb it. We cannot.
By now, we are starting to know the names of the dead. Among them are people we know. As many of you know, I volunteer with WIZO. I have taken many delegations to our projects in the south, in towns like Sderot and to Kibbutz Netiv Ha’asara. I have always been so proud – not just to show off our projects like rocket proof daycare centres but also the residents of these amazing towns. These are the nicest people you could meet. They have a strong Zionist identity and care deeply for each other, having endured decades of rocket attacks. We have daycare centres that could keep the rockets out – but we could not keep the monsters out. They came into homes and slaughtered whole families. They took pregnant mothers, Holocaust survivors, disabled, elderly and frightened children into Gaza. The barbarity and cruelty is too much to fathom. They came into our kibbutzim and murdered. The Mayor of Sderot said that Israelis could not comprehend the depths of the devastation.
The Sderot Police Station where I have taken delegations is no more. Hamas terrorists held police hostage for hours. In order to take out the terrorists, the station had to be demolished. My only hope is the hostages were no longer and did not suffer.
In 2014, WIZO evacuated the residents of Netiv Ha’Asara to safety during Operation Protective Edge. They hosted a magnificent lunch to thank us. My tile of peace is fixed to the Wall of Peace, which is their project. How many are still alive? Young people celebrating a festival of peace, slaughtered as they ran for their lives. Eyewitness accounts claim some of the women were raped.
Hamas and their supporters who nothing but apologists for depravity are reveling in their evil. The desecrated bodies of their victims, paraded in the streets, shared across social media. The world is watching in horror as the extent of their hatred is exposed. We have warned for decades – do you believe us now?
The barbarians who murdered our people did not care of we were religious or secular, left or right, a Bibi supporter or a Lapid supporter. They just wanted to kill us. The ANC and their cohorts who say we deserve this because of “Apartheid” and occupation – well, here is a fact they need to know. On Saturday, rockets killed Bedouin and Arabs. Foreign workers were killed and are taken hostage. Israelis from all walks of life are defending our country. As I write this, 73 have fallen in battle. May their memories be blessed.
We have faced the unimaginable together, we are mourning together and G-d willing, we will be
The barbarians came through the gates. The opened the gates of hell. We will never be the same again.
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