Amidst the barrage of more than 100 missiles that struck Israel on Sunday, two
Grad rockets hit the city of Ofakim at approximately 4 p.m., injuring five
Rosa Gabbai, aged 80, was sitting in her dining room when the
siren sounded. Her house does not have a safe room, but instead of moving to her
bedroom as she has been instructed, she remained where she was.
moments later, the rocket struck her house, exploding as it hit the roof and
landing directly inside her bedroom, not more than 2 meters from where she
Gabbai did not suffer any physical injury and, according to her son
Vittorio, was not suffering from any symptoms of trauma either. She was standing
at the entrance to her house when her son-in-law arrived at the scene to check
if she was OK.
“They told me all this rubbish about going to another
room, but I didn’t think it was necessary so I stayed where I was,” Gabbai told
The Jerusalem Post.
According to the general instructions of the Home
Front Command, Gabbai’s bedroom was the safest place in the house and her sons
had recommended she go there when sirens are sounded.
“I heard the first
boom, and as I was saying to myself that no more rockets were going to fall, one
struck my house directly and into my room,” she related.
“I left the
house because of the smoke and dust and everyone came up to me and asked me if I
was okay and if I could hear. I said of course I can hear and started laughing
when I saw what had happened to my house.”
“It was a big miracle, I don’t
even have a scratch on me,” she said. She credited her survival to the merit of
the famed rabbi of the Middle Ages, Moses Maimonides – who served as a doctor in
Egypt where she was born – and to Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess, renowned for his
Other family members also ascribed Gabbai’s survival to
“It’s a miracle, God saved her life,” said Etti
Ben-Hamo, her granddaughter.
“She’s a strong lady, she’s the matriacrch
of the family and she’s not afraid of anything,” Ben-Hamo told the Post. “She’s
like the focal point of the of the family, she’s 80 years old, she cooks for
everyone, we all visit her and we’re all very relieved she’s
Speaking about the broader situation, Ben-Hamo said that the rockets
strikes against the city and the south “have to be put to an end.”
tough here on the frontlines, but this can’t continue,” she said.
reference to a possible ground invasion of Gaza by IDF forces, Ben- Hamo said
she was concerned for the well-being of soldiers who enter the territory, but
said that the residents of the city “need quiet and security” in order to live
their lives in a normal fashion.
Ben-Hamo said her son has been suffering
from post-traumatic stress disorder and was upset by the news that a rocket had
stuck the home of his great-grandmother.
The Grad also caused severe
damage to the neighboring house belonging to the Zohar family.
Two of the
owner’s sons were in the house’s safe room and were uninjured by the attack
although they suffered from trauma following the strike.
Ran Zohar, 28,
another brother, was half a kilometer from his family home when he heard the
rocket hit the city.
He ran to his car and “drove like crazy” to the
house where he discovered his brothers unhurt.
Ehud Ben-David, a neighbor
and friend of the Zohar family, called for a “decisive ground invasion” of
“If we don’t stage a ground operation, then all of this will have
been a waste of time,” he said. “A waste of money, a waste of resources, a waste
of blood if we don’t end this now.”
The other rocket landed on a road on
the outskirts of the city, spraying a car with shrapnel. The three passengers, a
married couple and their baby, were lightly injured and two pedestrians
sustained moderate injuries. They were all were taken to Soroka Medical Center
in Beersheba for treatment.
A passerby suffered light shrapnel injuries
to her hand.
Ofakim, approximately 30 km. east of the Gaza Strip, is home
to 25,000 people and has sustained approximately 70 rocket strikes since
Wednesday, according to a municipality spokesman.