While she takes part in the public broadcaster’s Sunday program on the ZDF show ” Fernsehengarten” with a “Hamburg Ahoy”, Andrea Kiewel is actually sitting in a bunker in Tel-Aviv. The program is recorded and was already in the can in September. The presenter, on the other hand, has lived in Tel Aviv for years, where her partner is also at home. She published a live ticker from the morning of the attack in the “Jüdische Allgemeine”. It is a shocking document. “This is the live ticker of a morning that is over – and will last for a long time,” the presenter and author begins.
Kiewel sits in the shelter
At 7 a.m. the phone buzzed. The future mother-in-law answered: “Are you good? Are you okay?” She was briefly surprised and replied: “Oh yes. We had such a fun evening with friends…” And then the siren started wailing.
She was sitting with her dog in the Mamad, the name of a small shelter in her apartment. “As I frantically close the metal shutters, I notice that my hands are shaking. It’s the sound of the siren. This sound. He goes through the bone. Deep into the heart. And he opens all the floodgates. I cry. The dog presses himself against me. The siren stops and it goes “boom boom”. Iron Dome, the protective shield for which I thank its developers every day, shot down the enemy missiles.”
The phone no longer stood still. The house’s WhatsApp group was in top form. Occasionally cars blocked each other at the entrance to the parking lot, or it was annoying that one of the neighbors left their garbage in the hallway for days. “In situations like this Saturday morning, everything is forgotten. We want to make sure everyone is safe.”
ZDF presenter: How can that be?
The scenes she watched on videos of the fighting gave her stomach cramps. The dog has to go out. She runs with him through Gan Meir Park to the public shelter. Other dog owners came to meet her. We encourage each other. “At that moment the ‘How can this be?’ carousel starts spinning in my head. How is it possible that terrorists with motorcycles, Toyota pickup jeeps and mounted assault rifles can breach one of the most well-protected borders?”
“If I park where it’s forbidden in Tel Aviv for even five minutes, I’ll get a ticket. Not tactile. By email. With photo. The whole of Tel Aviv is “monitored”, i.e. monitored by cameras. They even take photos from behind. If there is a place where you can find a needle in a haystack, it is here,” writes Kiewel and asks himself: How could it be that the border with Gaza “has been so shamefully neglected”? That desperate people from their shelters on the kibbutz called the local television stations and screamed for help because terrorists were already shooting at the steel doors? Where is the army? Why wouldn’t the secret services have suspected something?
At nine o’clock local time, when Germany woke up, a storm of news broke out about her: “Mommy, are you okay? What the hell is going on with you? Terrorists? Where is the army? Andrea, should we book you a flight? Are you safe?” The sympathy from Germany is overwhelming.
Kiewel assesses the situation as follows: There have been clashes in the West Bank for months. Arabs against settlers. Settlers against Arabs. Terror. Murder. Dead. Injured. The Israeli government watched its violent settlers. Nothing done. Kiewel wonders what, since their party is in government.
“My husband puts on the uniform”
“The man I love is rock solid,” writes Kiewel in her report for the Jüdische Allgemeine. “25 years as an elite soldier have allowed him to experience and survive many terrible events. There will be a few more rockets. “The peace now is just a breather, my sweet,” he told her. “Andrea. I got a call. I’m leaving.” They were the sentences that I feared the most. “My husband takes off his jeans and puts on his uniform. The bulletproof vest lies next to the large flower vase, whose orange glows like the sun as it sinks into the Mediterranean each evening. Yesterday we were singing and dancing. It’s absurd. Macabre. Unrealistic.”
Netanyahu said: “Israel is at war!” And she is the friend of a soldier who is going into this war to defend this country where his family was able to escape from the Nazis. “He would give his life for this, his country. It’s embedded in his DNA. I love him endlessly for that.”
She stood on the street and waved after his car. Later I went to the supermarket and bought water, cans of tuna, crispbread and chips. “When I come across a car, it speeds. Young men at the wheel. Reservists. They rush to their army bases. Gaza is already being bombed. Everyone is saying that this time it will be very, very violent.”
She listens to the news, focuses on the images from the numerous live streams and states: “The world condemns the war that the Hamas terrorists are waging against Israel. And in Berlin-Neukölln, clan boss Abou-Chaker distributes sweets. It is an expression of his support for Hamas. I write with clenched fists.”