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Suddenly I heard my children scream

The giant stone blocks that hit her car in 'just another rock throwing incident' almost killed her family
Illustrative image of damage to a car pelted with stones outside Jerusalem on September 20, 2015. (Courtesy)
Illustrative image of damage to a car pelted with stones outside Jerusalem on September 20, 2015. (Courtesy)

Today was the scariest day of my life. They tried to murder me, my husband and my children. There is no other way to put it. It is the stuff of nightmares. It happens all the time. But today it happened to me.

We were driving back from my parents’ house in Efrat. We had brunch there together, outside in their sukka. We had bagels and cream cheese and chocolate milk. The baby took a nap.

And then we drove home to Tekoa, about a 10 minute drive away. Part of the road trails through a Palestinian village, and as we entered we saw dozens and dozens of Palestinian kids walking home from school, wearing their uniforms and backpacks. I warned my husband to drive carefully, g-d forbid he should accidentally hit someone, as they were walking on the edge and straying into the road. He drove slower.

And then suddenly there was a loud boom. And another, and another, and then another. And I couldn’t see a thing, and I heard my children screaming, the baby crying, I looked out my window and saw the Palestinian children, and then an Israeli soldier. I fumbled for my cell phone, following the protocol I had been taught but never had to use.

I called for help. I heard my voice shaking as I tried to explain where we were, what had happened, and as I did my car’s windscreen finally came into focus, it was smashed, my legs and arms were covered in glass, my knee was burning where a shard of glass was stuck inside my skin. And then I dropped the phone, suddenly remembering my children, ohmigod my children, the baby! I climbed out of my seat to look behind me as my husband continued driving away as fast as he could.

They were screaming, my 3-year-old was crying hysterically, my 6-year-old was yelling “what happened mommy, what happened!” over and over again. And the baby, was crying, screaming, oh, he’s such a good baby and he never cries, and then I saw he was covered in millions of tiny pieces of glass. The entire back windshield of the car had smashed in, there was glass everywhere, all over my children, all over my baby. In his hair, on his face, on his little onesie. I gently tried to shake the glass off him as my hands trembled, “drive faster, quickly, quickly, we have to check the baby,” I cried to my husband, who had somehow not lost control of the car during the attack.

And then forever passed, but it was only minutes, and we had reached the entrance to Tekoa, and security surrounded us. I grabbed my kids out of the car and held the baby up, I brushed him off, I analyzed his face, he was okay, thank god he was okay, they were all okay. My son was screaming that I was bleeding, and I saw the glass in my knee and a trail of blood down my leg but felt nothing but relief.

It’s in the news all the time. Rock throwing. It seems trivial. But it wasn’t rocks. It wasn’t pebbles. It was giant blocks of stone, the rectangular kind that are used to build houses. And it can kill. Rocks, stones, guns, are all the same. They are weapons. They are violence. They are tools to commit murder.

They could have killed us today, me, my husband, my three beautiful, innocent children who don’t understand why those kids walking home from school wanted to hurt us. They killed two other parents today. They left four other children orphans. And it accomplishes nothing. The culture of hatred, the education of violence, kids trying to kill other kids, it’s insanity, and it must stop.

It was a miracle that we came out unscathed today. And perhaps it will only be a miracle that can end this crazy conflict.

About the Author
Erica Chernofsky is a journalist based in Israel.