The path of a piece of shrapnel: A minor story that made no headlines
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Op-edWhen Hamas's rocket terror hits your home

The path of a piece of shrapnel: A minor story that made no headlines

Late on Monday night, a rocket destroyed the home of a family in the southern Israeli town of Netivot. This is not that story

David Horovitz

David Horovitz is the founding editor of The Times of Israel. He is the author of "Still Life with Bombers" (2004) and "A Little Too Close to God" (2000), and co-author of "Shalom Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin" (1996). He previously edited The Jerusalem Post (2004-2011) and The Jerusalem Report (1998-2004).

Dolls on a dresser just below a hole caused by shrapnel from a rocket in the wall of a bedroom in a home in Netivot, November 12, 2018 (Hadashot TV news)
Dolls on a dresser just below a hole caused by shrapnel from a rocket in the wall of a bedroom in a home in Netivot, November 12, 2018 (Hadashot TV news)

Late on Monday evening, at the height of the latest round of indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel by Hamas and other Islamist terror groups in neighboring Gaza, one rocket got through Israel’s remarkable Iron Dome missile defense system and landed directly on a house in the southern working-class town of Netivot.

As documented by reporter Moshe Nussbaum and his camera crew from Hadashot TV news, the rocket caused astounding damage.

It brought down the ceiling in one of the bedrooms, it smashed a large hole in an outside wall, it devastated the living room, it destroyed furniture, it injured the family dog, whose blood was still on the floor when the TV crew entered.

The story played prominently on Israeli TV news late Monday (Hebrew video below), though it made little international impact, unsurprisingly, since mercifully nobody was killed.

Though Netivot is barely 15 miles from central Gaza, and thus a prime target for Hamas rocket fire, this neighborhood in the town, Nussbaum reported, does not have municipal bomb shelters. And these particular homes were constructed before it became mandatory to include a reinforced “sealed room” in residential buildings, where Israelis rush in the seconds after the sirens wail, to take refuge from rocket attacks.

For the Netivot family whose home was destroyed in this strike, and many more like them, therefore, the only option when the sirens ring out is to “lie down on the floor, put their hands over their heads, and pray and hope for a miracle,” Nussbaum reported. “That’s what happened here today: A miracle.” Their home was destroyed, but the family, apart from their dog, emerged unscathed.

This, however, is not a story about that home.

Later on Monday evening, Nussbaum and his crew took us to another location — to one of the neighbor’s houses, just 20 or 30 meters away.

This home was not directly hit. Rather, a single piece of shrapnel from the rocket that destroyed the other house flew off and hit this home, where the Edri family live — parents and their two young children.

Hadashot TV reporter Moshe Nussbaum shows where a piece of shrapnel from a Hamas-fired rocket pierced the wall of a home in Netivot, November 12, 2018 (Hadashot TV news)

Nussbaum thought it was worth showing Israeli viewers, as part of a special extra mini-war news broadcast that Hadashot TV put on at 11 p.m., the path of that single piece of shrapnel, in order to underline how much devastation the Gaza rockets can wreak.

The way he showed and told it, this single piece of shrapnel penetrated into the Edris’ home via the corner of their bedroom, leaving a small hole in the wall near a wedding photo that’s hanging there.

Hadashot TV reporter Moshe Nussbaum points to a baby crib in a room where a piece of shrapnel from a Hamas-fired rocket entered a home in Netivot, November 12, 2018 (Hadashot TV news)

It flew straight across the room, clearing the little white cot in which their eight-month-old sleeps on her Minnie Mouse pillow, and through the wall into the kitchen.

Hadashot TV reporter Moshe Nussbaum shows where a piece of shrapnel from a Hamas-fired rocket came through a fridge in a home in Netivot, November 12, 2018 (Hadashot TV news)

It smashed into the back of their refrigerator and out the front of it, across the kitchen, and into the oven. There, it finally ran out of steam.

Hadashot TV reporter Moshe Nussbaum shows where a piece of shrapnel from a Hamas-fired rocket smashed into an oven and came to rest in a home in Netivot, November 12, 2018. (Hadashot TV news)

Not a direct hit. A single piece of shrapnel.

Like their neighbors, the Edris have no sealed room. Usually, they too stay at home and hope and pray when the rocket sirens wail.

On Monday night, they fled; Nussbaum didn’t say where. “That’s apparently what saved them,” he remarked in closing.

This short report (in Hebrew, above) on the path of a piece of shrapnel lasted barely 70 seconds. It was not repeated on the station’s main news bulletins. It didn’t merit its own story on Hadashot’s website, and it was not picked up by other Hebrew media outlets.

And one can well understand that; it’s a minor piece of reporting; nobody got hurt, nothing much to see, move along.

Instead, a Hadashot staffer very kindly dug the clip out for me on Tuesday afternoon so I could show it and write about it for anybody — as in, almost everybody — who didn’t happen to catch it late Monday night on TV.

Why? Well, as the intrepid Nussbaum noted, “in order to bring home the scale of the damage” that even a single sliver of a rocket can do.

Hadashot TV reporter Moshe Nussbaum in a home in Netivot hit by a piece of shrapnel from a Hamas-fired rocket, November 12, 2018 (Hadashot TV news)
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