The house destroyed by rocket fire, March 25th, 2019.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
The scenes this week from Moshav Mishmeret were devastating. The direct hit that the Wolf family home took from a rocket fired from Hamas in the early hours of Monday morning must have sent a shudder through anyone who – at the time it took place – had been sleeping peacefully in a bed in Israel.
The Wolfs are probably like many of the readers of this paper. Parents Robert and Susan made aliyah from their home in England some 30 years ago to start a new life in Israel. Settling in the coastal moshav, they raised a family; at the time of the attack, his married son Daniel and his family, along with another daughter, Talia, lived in the family home. They probably never thought they would become the focus of the entire country and – as it appeared earlier in the week – the impetus for a major confrontation between Israel and Hamas.
The fact that the family’s lives were spared – Susan remains moderately wounded at Beilinson Hospital in Kfar Saba – was due to the siren warning and some fast thinking by Daniel.
He spoke to The Jerusalem Post’s Tovah Lazaroff outside the ruins of their house with its blown-out red-tiled roof, fallen beams and walls reduced to rubble. He said that upon hearing the siren, he raced to four bedrooms; his wife’s, his parents and those of his daughters Mia and Tamara. He held both of the girls in his arms as he and his wife raced to the small reinforced room designed to protect them from rocket attacks.
“If we had not gotten to the bomb shelter in time, I would now be burying all my family,” Robert said. “They would all have been dead if we didn’t do what we had been supposed to do.”
The family acted exactly as Home Front instructions have dictated, something Israelis know all too well. They should be commended for their behavior during a breaking crisis – behavior which saved their lives.
But the Wolfs should also really be congratulated for their behavior in the aftermath of the attack. Faced with their injuries, the loss of their lifelong possessions and looking at the long and difficult task of rebuilding their lives and their home, the family didn’t dwell on their own plight.
“We had irreplaceable things that belonged to our great-grandparents that have been destroyed. We’re sad – but at the end of the day, things are only things… We survived,” said Talia Wolf in a KAN radio interview. “It will all be OK; we’re doing what we have to. We’re a strong family and we support each other.”
Instead of complaining, the Wolfs placed the spotlight on their fellow citizens living in the South who have been facing regular rocket attacks for over a decade.
“People suffer these consequences every day down South… It’s horrible that it’s not taken as seriously as attacks on central Israel are,” said Talia.
Indeed, the one saving grace of the Wolf’s tragedy is that it demonstrated to the rest of the country what the residents of the South have been forced to cope with. After the escalation earlier this week – with Monday night’s barrage of rockets fired into Israel and then the undeclared ceasefire which seems to have taken effect – residents of Sderot took to the streets to protest what they say is a lack of government policy toward Hamas and its aggression.
Their frustration is shared by the rest of us. But except in rare cases like the Wolfs, they are the ones on the front lines bearing the brunt of Israel’s inability to contain Hamas. When all of Israel starts to think like the Wolfs – that this is a national problem of the utmost urgency and not just a southern border issue – then maybe our elected officials will realize that something must be done.
The policies that have been in place for more than a decade are not working. Clearly, any kind of ground incursion into Gaza is a last resort, and Israel’s regular air attacks on Hamas installations are a stop gap measure at best. A diplomatic solution is the logical path to take, but that would require an entire rethinking of the national psyche.
It requires some brave moves that would have to be met by equally bold measures by the other side. If things continue as they are, there will soon be another admirable family like the Wolfs who see their Zionist dream blow up in a second.
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