Buzzed by Hezbollah: Bunkering down with wine and cheese during attack

Imagine going for a winery tour and spending two hours in a bomb shelter

September 3, 2019 04:13
3 minute read.
Buzzed by Hezbollah: Bunkering down with wine and cheese during attack

A sign warns that you are nearing the northern border with Lebanon. (photo credit: ANNA AHRONHEIM)

The windy roads to Avivim in the Upper Galilee were eerily quiet on Monday. Lone cars drove past roadblocks manned by IDF troops, and the tension felt like it could be cut with a knife.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Hezbollah had fired three Kornet anti-tank missiles toward an IDF base and military vehicle in retaliation for an IAF strike against an Iranian site in Syria that killed two Hezbollah terrorists about to unleash a drone attack on Israel.

For two hours, residents living within four kilometers of the border were ordered to remain indoors and open their bomb shelters as Israel fired more than a hundred artillery shells at Hezbollah targets in south Lebanon.
While residents in the area had been preparing for “something” to happen, some were shocked when things finally exploded on Sunday.

“We were told it would happen on Thursday, and we didn’t know that Hezbollah had attacked until we got text messages from our boss to go to the bomb shelter,” Vera Margalit told The Jerusalem Post.
Margalit, who runs the visitor center at the Galil Mountain Winery near Kibbutz Yir’on in the Galilee Panhandle, said she had just started giving a tour when she heard two large explosions.

“We had no idea; we don’t have sirens here,” she said. “That’s a good and bad thing, because while you don’t have your heart jump into your throat when the siren goes off, at the same time we had no idea something was happening. We heard the explosions, but we didn’t know what they were.”

Margalit said that she and her colleague Frederieka Shamia spent two hours in the shelter along with the tour group that had just arrived.

Frederieka Shamia enjoys a glass of wine in the Galil Mountain Winery outside the community of Yir’on. (ANNA AHRONHEIM)

“Five minutes before the attack, eight people spontaneously came in and we had to rush them into the shelter with us,” she said. “But we went in with wine and cheese, and we kept bringing more cheese and at least four bottles of wine.

“It was a wine and cheese tour of the bomb shelter,” she joked.

While the event itself didn’t frighten Margalit or Shamia, the silence afterwards has unnerved them.
“The only scary thing was when I drove back home to Kibbutz Menara... there were a lot of soldiers and I couldn’t go the regular way home,” Shamia, originally from the Netherlands, said. “It was all silent, no one was on the roads and most people in the area didn’t leave their homes. The whole drive home is open with no protected spaces... I drove home very fast.”

Margalit said the winery has had dozens of cancellations since the beginning of last week. Five buses of 250 people canceled by Monday at noon.

“People see the roadblocks, and they turn around and go somewhere else. We are expecting more cancellations because of the security situation. We don’t need war, especially right now,” she said.
While quiet has returned, the two women don’t think it’s over.

“I’m not sure this is it. When Nasrallah says something, it will be done – and it’s too quiet right now,” Shamai said.

“It feels like the quiet before the storm,” Margalit added. “But we have to continue our lives.”
As the Post left the two women, Shamai got a call.

“Don’t worry, they won’t fire on you,” she said. “Come. Drink. Enjoy.”


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