She was interviewed on Israeli
TV Channel 14:
Newscaster: How are you?
Perach: Thank God, I’m working on getting better. It takes time, and it’s not an easy process. I need to get better physically, mentally, and everything else in between. There’s a lot that comes along with that.
N: I see a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe next to you – are you a religious woman?
P: No, I am not a religious person. Not at all. I have a daughter and a son-in-law who did teshuva, and they are Chabad Chassidim. They have 3 kids – 3 young sons – and those boys taught me a little bit about religion and Judaism. Since they were very young they would ask me to make Brachos for them, and when I didn’t know how, they would teach me. My grandkids taught me what happiness was, and what positive thinking was. In Chabad, this is something they are taught from a very young age. And I think that it’s because of what they’ve given me, and what I didn’t realize I’d internalized, I was saved.
N: Could you tell us a little bit more about that, please? What happened in Be’eri?
P: At 6:30 a.m., a bomb siren went off, but in Be’eri that’s fairly normal. We have 15 seconds to reach a bomb shelter. I started running, and on the way grabbed a half-full bottle of water I had lying around, and a blanket from my bed. Then, I went into the shelter. After a little while, my phone started buzzing with notifications. We have an app for this type of situation, and it was going off without stopping. There were reports of terrorists in the Kibbutz. We were advised to stay locked in our shelters. I quickly started getting more and more notifications from friends and neighbors reporting what they were seeing and hearing. They were sharing which houses had terrorists, and where there was shooting from. There were reports of bodies being found and family members being trapped and attacked. I was alone inside my shelter and unsurprisingly, I was starting to panic. And then I decided to sit down. I took a deep breath and started saying a mantra that would accompany me throughout the next 48 hours.
“Thank you Hashem, thank you ‘Elokim’, thank you ‘HaKadosh Baruch Hu’, thank you for Your angels.”
I was trying to thank every version of God I could think of. Every name I knew He had, I whispered and thanked. Then I started to thank the Rebbe. “Thank you Rebbe, and Chabad Chassidim. Thank you for davening for me, I know you are all davening for me. I know the whole world is davening for me. Thank you Hashem.”
“I know my skin won’t let anything penetrate, and my flesh is protecting my body, thank you Hashem. I know that Hashem is protecting me and nothing will hurt me, thank you Hashem.” I whispered these words over and over again for hours.
Hours into being in the shelter, I remember my daughter left a small package in the corner of the room. I silently crawl over to the corner and start feeling around – not daring to turn on the lights. I feel across the wall and floor until my hand wraps around the small box. I pull it up and take out the tiny book – I think it is Tehillim or Tanya (it was a chitas) – and the picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I place the book under my tank top strap and against my chest.
“Now you need to protect my heart,” I whispered to the Rebbe. “Thank you for keeping me alive, thank you Hashem.”
I repeated the same words for hours. I thanked God for anything I could think of. For my grand kids, for my children. I thanked God for protecting me, and for being with me. And with time, I started to feel powerful. I felt stronger than I ever have, like the leader of an army preparing for war.
I started to plan ahead. I found biscuits in the room and rationed them out for meals. 2 biscuits, with 2 sips of water for each meal. And in between I just waited. I didn’t know how long I’m going to be in this shelter.
N: And what’s going on around you?
P: Around me is hell. I can hear the terrorists trying to break open my shelter door. They’re pushing at it, and shooting at it. I hear them speaking Arabic outside my window and I hear the banging start on my window. It was a miracle they weren’t successful.
They stayed for hours, trying anything they could to get through my door and get to me. I am not sure why they stayed with me so long. But nothing was working for them. I can’t help but remember a few years back when my daughter and I first decided to put a lock on that door. We called down a locksmith from Sderot and he worked for hours. He was careful and patient and his work truly paid off because nothing got that lock open.
Eventually, my son called. He lives in a nearby kibbutz and obviously heard about what was going on. He told me he was on his way and that he was coming to save me. I said ok, not really understanding the extent of what was going on around me.
15 minutes go by before I hear from my son again, and this time he asks me to send him my location. I obviously oblige, but I am confused – my son knows where I live after all. Eventually, he tells me that he is with the Duvdevan task force and that they are coming in to get me with 3 tanks.
All this time, the terrorists are continuing to pound on my door. I hear one outside my window screaming “Narkis, Narkis, come outside!”
I get tense and continue whispering my mantra. “Thank you Hashem, I am safe. Thank you Hashem, I am protected. Thank you to the Rebbe, I am alive.” I’m whispering, and waiting, and praying and thanking, and my entire house is shaking and my son isn’t coming.
N: And how did it all end?
P: In the end, once 48 hours passed, I decided to open the window. I needed fresh air. I couldn’t see much, but I knew my entire house was ruined. My heart was pounding. Everything seemed quiet but I was terrified. It was by the grace of G-d – and probably through his actual doing, that I climbed onto the window sill and jumped out. From there, weak, half-dressed, and exhausted, I started to make my way through the neighborhood. There was no one around. I started walking to the gate of the kibbutz, not wearing any shoes. My feet were getting all scratched up but I kept going. Eventually, I came across a bottle of water. I thanked G-d, repeating my mantra and drank half the bottle. I kept walking and found a golf cart with the key still inside. Again, I started saying thank you to Hashem for protecting me the ENTIRE way. I get into the cart and drive myself to the kibbutz gate, finally reaching the soldiers.
My son ran out to me. He had been waiting since he called me 2 days earlier. He had been begging the soldiers to come get me, but they refused. It was too dangerous – 12 terrorists were in my house! For 2 days, Hamas and the IDF had a war right over my head and I didn’t even know.
Once all the terrorists were cleared out, the IDF assumed I’d left on my own, so no one came for me. Which is why eventually, I let myself out and brought myself to safety.