‘It was a miracle, I don’t have a scratch on me’

80-year old woman survives direct rocket hit on her bedroom; "God saved her life," says Rosa Gabbai’s granddaughter.

Rocket damageed home in Ofakim 370 (photo credit: Jeremy Sharon)
Rocket damageed home in Ofakim 370
(photo credit: Jeremy Sharon)
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 people.
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.
Several 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 sat.
Click for full JPost coverage
Click for full JPost coverage
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 miracle working.
Other family members also ascribed Gabbai’s survival to divine intervention.
“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 ok.”
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.”
“We’re tough here on the frontlines, but this can’t continue,” she said.
In 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 Gaza.
“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.