The Iron Lions

Testimonials from the war in israel, Oct 23'

Michal Rahav


Saturday, 6:32 AM. 

The sirens go off and we run to the shelter, picking up Noam and Itamar and closing the iron window. 

Pretty quickly we realize that by the number of sirens this time, something different is happening. 

This time it is more frequent, more intense, endless firing. 

I tell my kids to get dressed quickly, wear closed shoes and be ready to run to the car, so when there is a break we can immediately get away.

I leave the kids in the shelter and go out for quick dashes to pack clothes in the bag. 

Lee is already dressed in his uniform, armed, and standing in the front of the house. 

We wait, trying to figure out what caused this attack. 

Nothing is on the news. 

8:10 AM

I go to our bedroom to take clothes for Lee and myself. Suddenly I hear close gunfire. Lee and I look at each other, suddenly between shots we hear screams in Arabic. 

We understand that they are here, outside our house. 

I run to the shelter and close it off with the kids, the kids lying on the floor. I throw life vests on them, and give Yuval teargas, and a knife to Noam. 

The children look at me, understand, the dogs also understand, and everyone is quiet, not moving.

Outside we hear gunfire. Right outside the shelter door, I hear Lee’s footsteps. He comes into the shelter and closes the door. He tells me that he killed a terrorist who tried to enter through the window. 

Just as he says this, there’s a huge blast.

They fired an RPG on us. The door of the shelter still stands. 

Many rounds of gunfire on the door and iron window. The room fills with the smell of gunpowder. 

My ears are ringing, and it takes us a minute or two to get to our senses. 

The power goes out, it’s pitch black. 

Lee hands me a gun. We both aim our weapons at the door. 

I try to call the Kibbutz's security officer. Sending a voice message, also sending messages in the Kibbutz WhatsApp group. “Please send help, we have terrorists in our house”. 

More and more messages pop up in the group, people asking for help. The hours pass by. Every minute seems like eternity. 

At 15:00 the military arrives with our security officer. We open the door and see the level of destruction. Our entire house was annihilated. I try to digest the situation and bring water bottles to the soldiers. I pick up whatever I can, a silver menorah and a kiddush cup, presents from my late grandmother. 

I understand that we won’t be coming back to this house. 

Finally we get clearance to leave. 

I tell Lee that we have to go back to take the paintings made by my late father-in-law. 

We get out of the kibbutz, I look at the rearview mirror at the smoke coming out of the Nirlat factory. Dozens of burnt cars with bullet holes at the side of the road. We reach Beer Sheva and pull over to the side. Take off the vests and I burst into tears, hugging the kids.