Couple marries in a bomb shelter, defying Gaza rockets
Amid ongoing attacks, couples get by with a little help from friends and the internet, relocating their nuptials at the last minute
Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.
The barrage of rockets that pummeled Israel on Tuesday played havoc with the wedding plans of several couples who had scheduled their nuptials at locations that came under fire from the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian terror groups launched the assault in response to the IDF’s targeted killing of senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group commander Baha Abu al-Ata early Tuesday.
After the IDF’s Home Command placed limitations on many southern communities from holding public gatherings, couples scrambled to find alternative locations — and in one case downsized their event from 1,000 guests to just 100 who squeezed into a bomb shelter.
The makeshift wedding of Dor and Orel Huri was brought to public attention by the groom’s more famous sister Karin Kleinberg, who featured in the popular reality TV show “Hamerotz Lamillion,” the Israeli version of “The Amazing Race.”
Kleinberg, who has some 52,000 followers on Instagram, posted a message about the wedding being canceled. It was set to be held in Netivot, where a rocket hit a house, causing extensive damage but not harming a family inside who had secured themselves in a bomb shelter.
Although the wedding couple had tried to find another hall somewhere in the center of the country — and hopefully out of rocket range — they eventually gave up on the idea.
“Because the situation [of rocket fire] continued, the guests were afraid to go and the couple decided that while the event they had dreamed of would not happen, the wedding will be held,” Kleinberg wrote Wednesday to her fans.
“So instead of 1,000 guests in a big hall we had 100 guests in a bomb shelter in Beit HaGadi.”
Kleinberg wrote that, nonetheless, a big celebration party was planned for later this month.
Other distraught couples were also able to find alternative weddings halls with a little help from the internet.
Lior Koka, a celebrity confectioner, told her 163,000 Instagram fans about a couple from the south who had managed to find an alternative location in Tel Aviv.
“We only need help with all the rest,” she wrote at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening. “That means food, a DJ, everything that you think could make this wedding the happiest and most joyful there is in the short time that we have.”
Within an hour and half volunteers responded offering their services, including a makeup artist, a hairdresser — who posted a photo of the bride — a DJ, photographer, catering from various restaurants, desserts, and even a barman, Channel 12 television reported Wednesday.
The ceremony eventually started at 10 p.m. and was reportedly a roaring success.
The rockets caught another bride, Moriah Ben-Hamu, as she and her groom Yishi Moshe Ozeri were trying to take some pre-ceremony photographs. Her sister, Shirel Ben-Hamu snapped the bride, complete with wedding dress, as she crouched down on the side of the road, hands over her head, taking cover as a rocket alert siren sounded.
כלה בנתיבות. pic.twitter.com/mImLjdWjEV
— nir dvori (@ndvori) November 12, 2019
As the attacks continued, the families on both sides realized they must find another location for the wedding, the Ynet website reported.
They began issuing desperate pleas for help via every means of communication they had. Before long the owners of the Euphoria Hall in Jerusalem offered to host the wedding. Some 500 guests were told of the change in venue and the wedding went ahead, albeit not as originally planned.
Haim Raphael Atel, who owns the hall, told Ynet that one of his friends had called him up to tell him about the couple’s plight.
“Their story had spread on the Jerusalem WhatsApp groups like wildfire,” he said referring to the messaging application.
“You have to understand that a couple who arrives after events like that is very agitated. We made it clear to them that we are here for them and they can relax and enjoy with a clear head.”
Other couples were not so lucky and were forced to reschedule after their wedding halls canceled on them.