Today things got a bit too close for comfort when a terrorist attack happened on just a few hundred meters from my work. It happened just minutes after a coworker and I were passing the exact street.
Since the start of the war, my experience had been hectic and scary. We were awakened by the air raid alarm around 06:30 on this Saturday, the 7th of October. A day that was supposed to be all fun and games, with us seeing Bruno Mars that night in the park.
Our apartment doesn’t have a shelter. In fact, we need to cross the street to go into a shelter of the local school. On the morning of the attack, the school was closed, and it left my wife and I on the street. Hiding away between buildings while we hear the rockets being shot down by the Iron Dome.
Several more alarms followed before my wife made the decision to leave for the north. Every alarm, we had to run up and down the street to see if we could get in a building and use their safe room. Not ideal, to say the least.
We saw the early footage coming in of what was happening in the south. Videos of terrorists going through villages and shooting into safe rooms, with bodies falling onto each other. People got raped, butchered and taken hostage by the terrorists. Hearing that thousands of terrorists made it into the country and the army not having a clue what was happening scared the shit out of me. It was fucking insane.
A few days of not coping with what was happening and hearing constant helicopters above us in the North, made me decide to leave Israel and fly back to the Netherlands.
For almost 2 months we stayed there, living an almost normal life. Working from home, seeing concerts and flying for work across Europe. We kept reading about everything that’s happening, constantly worried, but at least we were safe.
It felt good to be out of the mess. It was easier to put aside when your parents have the cutest dog and live in the middle of nowhere.
After feeling safe and secure for almost 2 months, it was really tough to come back. The fact that El Al airlines treated me like a criminal, really didn’t help.
Being back, I struggled with life and wanted to lock myself in our apartment constantly. It was hard to go out, but after a few weeks it went a bit better. We still had regular alarms in December, and thankfully this time the school shelter was open. Safety at last. The feeling of hearing this alarm goes right to the bone. It’s scary, yet our minds go straight to shoes on and running to the school. The shaking and realising why we do it follows in the minutes after.
However, knocking on wood, it has been calm for us in the last few weeks.
That was until today. January 15th. I’m working in Ra’anana and, like most days that I work in the office, we go out for lunch. Like many times before, we go to the mall around the corner, have our lunch and walk back. Today I stayed a bit longer than usual as I had to buy a hard drive. On the way back to the office, life for everyone around us was normal, but just 5 minutes after leaving Haharoshet Street, a terror attack took place, which ultimately killed one person and wounded another 17.
We were back in the office when we heard a lot of sirens, quickly followed by commotion and distress in the office. It wasn’t long before the news of an attack was out, with the first images followed by hearing the sound of helicopters above us. It is safe to say that it was quite challenging to back to work after all of this.
2 Palestinians came to Ra’anana with just one mission, as quoted from their police interview:
“When the war in Gaza began, my cousin and I decided to carry out an attack and become martyrs. We got a ride to Ra’anana from Hebron three days ago. Our plan was first to stab Jews. Then we decided to run over as many Jews as possible” the Palestinian suspect is quoted as having said.
How fucking insane is that?! I can’t believe it. Even worse, one of the terrorists was working in a car wash just a few hundred meters of my work. Based on a road that I pass through every single day. Israel hasn’t learned anything since October 7. Terrorists can still come into Israel illegally, work for a month in a place and start their attack. I honestly am shocked. How can I feel safe walking across the streets of Israel when I’m not even sure there isn’t a terrorist within a few hundred meters waiting for the perfect shot.
My story isn’t anything compared to what happened to people that actually were in the south on October 7th, or are fighting in the war. Not to forget about the people that were taken hostage and are still taken hostage by the terrorists. Even today, I wasn’t there when it happened. But I still felt the urge to write about it. To put down the emotions trying to make sense of it.