TEL AVIV, Israel – As the war between Israel and Hamas continues to intensify, a family in Israel shares their daily struggles a week after the surprise attack.
Uri Shafir lives in Tel Aviv with his wife and their three kids. Each day brings new dangers as rockets are raining down all over Israel.
“We just got a notice, ‘Enter your protected room and shelter now.’ So we’ll do that,” Shafir said.
Before they had to leave for their safety, we talked extensively about the terror they’ve been experiencing day in and day out.
“Everybody knows somebody that was either killed or kidnapped,” he explained. “My neighbor downstairs, her grandmother got shot in the stomach while she was rescued from her shelter in Kibbutz Saturday morning. She’s still very in a tough condition.”
The massive attack carried out by Hamas militants came a day after Israel marked the 50th anniversary of the surprise invasion on Yom Kippur. It caught people in Israel off-guard.
“Even in Israeli standards, we’re tough,” Shafir said. “We’ve been dealing with violence for many, many years. Everybody here is completely destroyed mentally and physically. We’re very strong people. It’s really an insane reality for everyone here, and we’re used to war. We’re used to crazy realities. We’re used to rockets. We’re used to terrorism. This is a whole new level of atrocities.”
This is a struggle for his entire family. Shafir’s kids are ages nine, seven and four.
“Which is another layer of difficulty,” he said. “You know, kids are home, and you need to keep them busy, but you can’t really go too far from home. You want to stay a few seconds away from the bomb shelter.”
President Biden was standing squarely by Israel, but on Friday, he called the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Gaza an urgent priority. The president says the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas’ appalling attacks, and they’re suffering as a result as well.
“We’re actually fighting for our survival as a country,” Shafir said. “It’s not an exaggeration.”
Shafir says they get about three alerts on their phone a day that force them to scramble to their shelter for safety.
Their kids will start learning over Zoom on Monday. He also added Israel is very much dependent on the U.S. for its survival.