Dozens demand greater army presence at security fence-adjacent communities in central Israel

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Resident of the central Israeli town Bat Hefer protest for improved security measures along the security fence on May 29, 2024, after Hamas terrorists fired at the town from Tulkarem in the West Bank. (Shahar Yaari/Flash90)
Resident of the central Israeli town Bat Hefer protest for improved security measures along the security fence on May 29, 2024, after Hamas terrorists fired at the town from Tulkarem in the West Bank. (Shahar Yaari/Flash90)

Holding her six-month-old baby at a rally in Bat Hefer near Netanya, Shelley Levin Hatam recalls fearing earlier today that her family was about to be murdered in their home.

“The gunfire sounded like it was on our street. I fully expected to see terrorists outside our home,” says Hatam, a mother of three from Kibbutz Yad Hannah, which is one of several communities in the region that came under fire today from the West Bank, across the Security Barrier.

Hatam and her youngest are among the dozens of people gathered in Bat Hefer to demand heavier army presence and actions to stop the targeting of Israeli fence-adjacent communities. The protesters say they are under fire daily since October 7.

“We have an emergency team of five people and no army presence. It’s insane. If 30 men with ladders climb over the fence tomorrow, we will be overrun and at their mercy,” she says, noting that a bullet that hit one of the eastern houses of Yad Hannah was recovered earlier today.

“Just like the Gaza envelope communities were abandoned before October 7, now Samaria-envelope ones, like this one, are abandoned,” says Limor Rehney, a 59-year-old who moved into Bat Hefer in 1996, a year after the establishment of the town, which is today home to some 5,000 people.

“The reality here has changed dramatically after October 7,” says Bat Hefer’s municipal rabbi, Yosef Karasik, who is also at the rally. “The shootings are daily. Army presence is thin. It is becoming difficult to raise children here, and those with the means are already leaving.”

Limor Rehney attends a protest rally in Bat Hefer on May 29, 2024. (Canaan Lidor\Times of Israel)

Most Popular