At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night, April 21st. 2007, less than an hour after the Bibiyen family finished the Sabbath with the traditional blessing over the spices, wine and a candle– all the symbols of the hope to begin a new week of living — a missile fired from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) camp in Jabalya in the Gaza strip scored a direct hit on the Bibiyen home.

The extended Bibiyen family consisting of two grandparents, Dvora 52, and Yigal, 64, had welcomed the families of their four sons and one daughter to spend the Sabbath with them. Everything had ended on such a pleasant note.

This reporter spoke with the Bibiyen family on Sunday morning while they were cleaning through the rubble.

All of them were stunned and still trying to comprehend the miracle that occurred the previous night.

One of the sons, Yahav 31, still a bit shaken, said that he did not realize until Sunday morning how close each family member was to being literally blown to bits.

Yahav told the story, fresh in his mind, how the “Color Red” alarm had gone off, and, only seconds later, how he heard a huge explosion upstairs on the second floor; where his mother and his wife — in her fifth month of pregnancy– were sitting and talking.

The missile tore through the staircase, flinging the stairs 30 meters away to the street below, smashing into the roof of a car.

Yahav added that it took almost an one hour until his wife and mother were evacuated from the second floor, from where a fire engine ladder lifted both of them into a waiting ambulance — both of whom diagnosed by a medic to be in a an advanced state of shock and in need of immediate treatment. On the Sunday morning after, they were both resting in the hospital in Ashkelon.

With a sigh of relief, Yahav said that “I am glad that everyone is ok –physically–, and when I think of how my brother had just left with his two children 10 minutes before after watching TV exactly where the wall had fallen down, how my other brother with his 8 months pregnant wife had left 5 minutes before, and how my sister and father had just come downstairs into the kitchen, I am overwhelmed… “

Yahav walked through the house, and pointed out that the pictures of the Rabbis on the walls weren’t damaged, while all other pictures and fixtures were destroyed, and carefully marked the places where each and every one from the family was standing where one could see the hole that the rocket bore through the wall and the staircase was blown away.

Yahav said that he could not understand how this miracle had happened, because if anyone in the family had been standing a few steps away, from where they were standing, this would have meant certain death.

“If we had 2 more seconds to start running down the staircase — we wouldn’t be here today. If my brother would have decided to stay a bit longer with his children, who knows what could have happened” said Yahav, who also noticed that the missile had barely missed the gas balloons.

Yuval, Yahav’s older brother, was asked how his two children were doing who had left the house only ten minutes before.

They heard the blast and ran back to the house and watched their grandmother and Aunt being rescued from the second floor.

Yuval said that his children are only worried about their grandmother, Devorah, and they keep asking what happened to her.

Yuval said that he would have trouble taking his children to visit their grandparents’ home again. They will simply not understand why and how it was destroyed.

Yahav goes back to work on Lag B’omer, the day that wedding season resumes on the Jewish calendar. That is because Yahav is a wedding video photographer for his livelihood.

Yahav used a cover missile attacks for Israel TV and quit because he wanted to film happier events. That is, happier events than the 212th missile to hit the western Negev since Israel declared a self-imposed “cease-fire” on November 26th, 2006.

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Noam Bedein is a director of the Sderot Media Center. It is a media advocacy center which portrays the human face of Sderot and southern Israel under siege, to the international media and public. Noam, a native of Tzfat, grew up in Efrat, Israel. After finishing the Beit El Yeshiva High School, Noam learned at a pre-Army training program in the Jordan Valley and then served for three years as an IDF sergeant for an artillery scout unit along the Lebanese border. After the army, Noam served as an emissary for The Jewish Agency in Boston, Massachusetts and then traveled for a year in the Far East.

Upon his return to Israel, Noam relocated to Sderot and pioneered the “Sderot Media Center for the Western Negev Ltd", which has spawned the Sderot Media Center. In this position, Noam is a photojournalist, lecturer and gives briefings to foreign government officials, embassies, foreign press and student groups from around the world.

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