‘Fortunately, God loves us,’ says Ashdod man

Ashdod resident tells 'Post' about narrow escape from rocket that slammed into sidewalk near his salon.

damage from rocket in Ashdod 370 (photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
damage from rocket in Ashdod 370
(photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
When Yariv Arahal and Morris Swissa showed up for work at their hair dressing business in Ashdod on Monday, the two men did not think they would end up owing their lives to a thick wall inside their premises.
It was that wall which absorbed the glass and shrapnel that flew straight at them from a Palestinian Grad rocket that slammed into a sidewalk across the street.
The rocket narrowly missed a block of residential apartments and a row of stores, smashing into empty concrete slabs.
Arahal was thankful to more than the wall for the close escape.
“Fortunately, God loves us,” he told The Jerusalem Post, as city officials and police oversaw the clean-up operation around him.
Storefronts were shattered by the blast, and debris lay strewn on the road, as Home Front Command officials scoped out the damage.
“We ran behind this wall when we heard the siren. Then we heard a large explosion. Everything went dark,” Arahal recounted. “Everything around us looked like it fell apart. Then we emerged from behind the walls.”
Fear ran through his mind when he realized how close the rocket had fallen, Arahal said. “I thought it was the end of my life.”
Asked what they thought of the government’s handling of the crisis, the two men offered different views.
“It doesn’t make sense, what’s happening here,” Swissa said. “I hope the army does something.”
“If we have to suffer, we will suffer. We are Jews, we are resilient,” Arahal said. “I trust the government to deal with this.”
A woman in her 80s was rushed to the hospital after being struck by flying glass from the rocket. Doctors at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot said she was in light condition. Several additional people caught up in the attack went into shock.
An hour after that attack, another air raid siren rang out through the city, sending residents fleeing for cover once more. It was the fourth siren to afflict residents that day.
Passersby ran into a residential building and huddled around the entrance to a bomb shelter. After around 40 seconds, three distinct blasts could be heard. This time, the Iron Dome had successfully intercepted the rockets.
For all of its successes though, the people of Ashdod know that the Iron Dome system cannot defend them every time.
“It was not a good experience,” said Arahal. “But thankfully, we got through it in one piece.”
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