'I left the house with my guitar and came back to ashes'

Musician Yisrael Portnoy tells Arutz Sheva about being evacuated from Mevo Modi'im and learning his home had been reduced to ashes.

Yoni Kempinski,

Fire aftermath in Mevo Modiim
Fire aftermath in Mevo Modiim
Photo: TPS

Yisrael Portnoy, a musician who lives in Mevo Modi'im, told Arutz Sheva about his experience being evacuated from his home on Lag B'Omer (Thursday), the support he received from the Jewish people, his house that was burned down and the optimism he maintains during the difficult moments.

"Everything happened really fast, too fast. It was Lag B'Omer and we were told to get out of the moshav. I was in the middle of playing guitar so I left with a guitar in my hand, without a wallet or passport. This was the last time we were in the house and now everything is ashes."

The conversation with Portnoy took place before he entered his house to see what was left, but a friend already told him what to expect. "My friend was inside and he said, 'There's nothing to see. Everything is ashes.' I had this great clubhouse next to the house made out of wood full of vintage guitars and a home studio and everything....is gone."

"On the one hand, we lost everything. On the other hand, it's amazing how much this whole nation comes together and offers to help," Portnoy said. "I even had to turn off my phone. There were too many people calling with all sorts of suggestions for everything, from offers to buy a phone at cost to the most elementary things."

Portnoy's works went up in flames but he's determined to continue creating. "I've been creating things from the age of six and I'll always be creating things. But the reality is that everything - the guitars and the musical instruments and the studio - all these things are material and one day I'll have the same things. But what really hurts the most personally is that I had so many papers which I've written for many years - my writings and melodies."

"I also lost my recordings that were on a hard disk that was also in the studio. But don't focus only on me. Everyone here has a story. This is a community where we'll return stronger than we ever were. It will be a long process but we'll do it little by little."