Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 13:23 Ranana, the mother of the family who was ambushed in a rock terror attack in mid-September described the incident in detail on her Facebook page. Translation by Honenu.
We were returning from a family date harvest in the [Jordan] Valley… My husband, Uri, was the driver. I sat next to him and the children were sitting in the back.
At 19:10 it was starting to get dark. We exited Route 505 towards the new twisty road. There was a cliff to our right and a chasm to our left.
“Dad, drive slower! The dates are falling,” No’am called out from the back.
And then suddenly…
“Oy, no!!!! rocks,” I screamed so that Uri would stop.
Uri slowed down.
There were huge boulders on the road, right in front of us. There was no way to pass them…
So we stopped.
What should we do??
Backing up in the dark in our large car on a narrow road was impossible.
A split second later and… Boom!!! Boom!!! Boom!!!
Rocks hit the car.
The car shook with every hit.
The right side of the car took rock after rock.
Suddenly there was a different sound. ???
The front windshield was shattered. Fortunately the bumper is long and we weren’t injured by glass shards.
Behind me the children screamed in panic. I shouted to them, “Hands over your head! Get your heads down! Mom and Dad will deal with it. Don’t worry!”
“Whom should I call?” I asked. “The ravshatz [head of security]?”
“No,” said Uri. “The moked [local security headquarters]. Only the moked. They’ll send whoever is necessary.”
next to the window where our little Chen, a year and a half old, was sleeping. She woke up screaming at the top of her lungs.”
Just so that the window doesn’t shatter on Chen, or any of the other children in the back.
Damage to the car; Video credit: Free use
What else could we do?
What should we do?
There wasn’t another car in sight. Should we drive on? Impossible, and the rocks kept coming hard. Seconds seemed like an eternity. The only option left was to chase away the terrorists by shooting into the air.
Just so that the children don’t get hurt!!!
Uri took off his seatbelt and opened the door. He fired one warning shot into the air.
One bullet into the air and then there was quiet.
Silhouettes fled. Six figures escaped under cover of darkness to their village. Six terrorists who wanted right then and there to cause the death of an entire family.
Uri stood outside, scoping the surroundings. I called the moked and reported a rock-throwing attack and a massive barricade on the road.
“Moked, shalom?” I screamed hysterically. “I’d like to report rock throwing!!! Rock throwing and boulders on the road between Migdalim and Eish Kodesh.”
Dispatcher: “Are there any injured?”
“Right now, no. We’re in the dark with small children in the car. If you don’t come quickly maybe there will be injuries. I’ll repeat. Send someone quickly.”
The dispatcher transferred the call to the Binyamin headquarters and I called the ravshatz so that he could hurry everyone along. I was concerned that there was an explosive charge hidden under the boulders on the road.
In the meantime I tried to calm the children, as I looked in the direction from which the terrorists had come, and received calls from every security official within a kilometer radius. I tried to explain where we were and what the situation was. With a cocked pistol in one hand Uri started to roll the boulders off the road. We had to get out of there as quickly as possible. And that wasn’t quickly enough.
“Ranana, keep your eyes on the mountain, to see if they come back.” I tried to cover all positions, with the children, the moked, and to be the look-out for terrorists.
Uri unloaded his pistol and returned it to his belt. The boulders were cleared. He came back to the car and we continued. But 20 meters later, around a curve, we stopped.
They had set a death trap!! Exactly that. It was a miracle that we got out alive.
Boulders were strewn all over the road. The small ones were 10-15 kilograms. The larger ones approached 50.
Rock after rock. What he couldn’t lift Uri rolled and left on the side of the road. We reached the yellow gate [of our community] and my brother came out to help clear the rocks. He took the terrified children and we stayed there as the security forces arrived.
The children were unsettled. Stunned. It happened a meter from home.
The incident was over. It was behind us.
The soldiers arrived, the local patrol Jeep. They took photographs and looked in shock at the extensive damage to the car and the miracle that had occurred. The police were on their way to examine the incident and thoroughly understand what had happened. We returned home to the children, to calm them and us. To breathe easy and drink a glass of water. The police arrived, asked questions, took photographs and invited us to the police station on Monday to receive authorization for “damages from a terror incident”.
A day passed and we tried to work out what had happened. After a night without much sleep and with frightened children, we consulted authorities about what to do so that the children wouldn’t be traumatized and neither would we. And we processed the trauma…
Rosh HaShana passed. We turned a new page. Now only taking care of the car was left.
We arrived together at the police station, and then the policemen turned to Uri, “Do you want to speak to a lawyer before we start the interrogation?”
“What? Investigation??? For what ??”
“That you’ll hear at the interrogation itself… You used a weapon.”
We were stunned and shocked. Speechless. We’d been barraged with rocks! We fired one shot into the air in self-defense and they want to interrogate us and open a criminal case over it!? What’s happening here??
We expected sympathy and encouragement from the police for what we had done, to receive the form [for declaring damages] and to continue on with the bureaucracy until we succeeded in repairing what the terrorists had done.
And now they’ve turned Uri into a criminal?? A criminal case??
We contacted Nati Rom, a Honenu Attorney who was distressed by the arrogance of the police and immediately came to our aid.
We contacted [Betzalel] Smotrich and the [Binyamin] Council Head, and tried every angle in order to get out of the situation.
What? What if Uri hadn’t opened fire? It was in self-defense and if he hadn’t, it could have ended badly. Very badly. Rocks kill. They hit three sides of Chen’s window frame. It was a miracle that she wasn’t injured. If Uri hadn’t opened fire, who knows what would have happened. Fortunately he had a weapon. Really???
Today we left the police station after two hours of interrogation.
They took our fingerprints and photographed us from every angle, as if we were the worst of criminals.
And we were stunned and shocked.
Stunned that the police had not come to pursue the terrorists who had wanted to murder us.
Stunned by the interrogation and by the case that was opened against us because we protected our lives instead of dying at the hands of murderers.
And we wondered. What would become of us? What would become of people who just want to return home in peace.
What would become of this precious nation whose life is so dear.
What would become of our cherished State that conducts itself in this manner…
Our pain is not personal. This war is not a personal war. We must come out with a clear statement opposing the failed conduct of the police concerning a man protecting his family from terrorists.
In May 2020, Honenu launched a campaign to put a stop to rock and Molotov cocktail throwing attacks. The organization calls on on everyone who has experienced an attack to contact their headquarters so that the terrorists can be brought to trial. For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys have represented victims of rock or Molotov cocktail attacks, please see here.