Tami Jorno was busy cooking breakfast for her two small children at 8:30 on Thursday morning, when a siren rang out, warning of an incoming rocket attack from Gaza.
It followed a night wracked by so many sirens, that the Jorno family had slept in their safe room in the basement, rather than in their upstairs bedrooms.
The family emerged only in the morning, when it seemed like safety had returned to their small southern city of Sderot.
But the morning calm, as the summer heat settled in, turned out to only be a temporary lull.
Tami’s son, Uri, 4, was watching Sami, the fireman on a television screen in the living room, while her daughter, Daniella, 5, sat with her in the kitchen looking at a video on an Iphone, when the Code Red siren wailed once more.
“We didn’t waste a second,” Tami said, as she sat on her porch in the afternoon and described the attack to The Jerusalem Post.
“I called out Uri, run quickly, there is a warning siren!” recalled Tami.
She explained that “sometimes when they [her children] are watching television, they don’t hear the siren.”
In spite of their young age, experience has taught them to race to the safe room.
They made it there on Thursday just before a rocket tore into Tami’s upstairs bedroom, two floors above.
“There were two explosions, one that seemed distant and one that was so strong, that I was certain it had hit the house or fallen just outside,” said Tami.
A small, slim woman, with light brown hair that is pulled back into a pony tail, she is calm as she talks.
But when she emerged from the safe room after the rocket hit, she was shaking.
“I burst into tears from the fear,” she said as it became clear to her how narrowly her life and that of her children were spared.
“If we hadn’t made it into the safe room, I don’t know what would have happened,” she said.
She called her husband, Avihai, who was already at work, to tell him what happened. He returned home immediately, to find that a rocket had blasted a hole in his bedroom wall.
It cracked another wall, shattered the window, and blew its frame across the room. A large wedding photograph of Tami and Avihai had fallen off its hooks. It now lay crooked against the wall, amid the debris.
“It was a miracle that they were saved,” said Avihai of his wife and two children.
Dust lay everywhere, including on their rose-patterned bed sheets.
Since the attack, the Jorno’s two-story stucco house has been filled with friends, municipal workers, police, reporters and a few politicians, including Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
But his focus, Avihai said, is on organizing repairs to his home so their lives can return to normal as soon as possible.
“I was born here. I have lived in this house for five years,” said Avihai. “I do not intend to leave here. We are strong. We will remain strong.”
A short distance away Rachmiel Steinberg was busy cleaning up debris from the rocket that landed in his driveway. Seven years ago, he said, a rocket also landed near his home.
Almost all the windows in his house were damaged in the explosion, he said, as he pointed to the jagged glass around some of the frames.
He was away from home at the time of the explosion, but his wife, Ava, was in the kitchen when a warning siren rang out. She quickly entered a safe room. Her shock was so great when she emerged and understood how narrowly she escaped harm, that she sought medical treatment.
Although it was hours later, her body still trembled as she spoke.
While the Jorno and Steinberg families were busy dealing with the physical rocket damage, a group of about 50 residents held an evening protest at the entrance to the city.
They called on the IDF to attack Gaza and rid it of Hamas and other terrorist groups that launch rockets against southern Israel.
Among the slogans they chanted as they waved Israeli flags were: “Let the IDF win!,“ “Death to the terrorists,” and “Our blood is not cheap.”
At one point during the demonstration, Dror Aryeh, who teaches at the hesder yeshiva in Sderot, picked up a bullhorn and called out to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to rid himself of left-wing ideology.
To the government of Israel and Economic Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, he said, “the time has come to stop talking and start acting.”
“Children in the State of Israel have a right to sleep in peace,” Aryeh said. “We have to cut off the head of the snake. The time has come to say enough. We have lost patience. The State of Israel has a right to return to itself. This would not happen in Washington in France, or in Russia, they would not sacrifice the blood of their citizens.”
He added, “The fate of Sderot is the fate of Tel Aviv.”
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