Border Police forces operating in Lod
Border Police forces operating in LodYossi Aloni/Flash90

Ahuva Barginski lives in the Ganei Aviv neighborhood of Lod, and has been living there for 26 years, since 1995. Arutz Sheva spoke with her on Sunday to learn more about life in the “mixed city” of Lod during Operation Guardian of the Walls, and to find out how the Jews of Lod are coping in the aftermath.

“If it hadn’t been for the Torah-core community here, the Russian community in Ganei Aviv wouldn’t have survived,” Barginski tells us. “It’s simply shocking that there are people who are seeking to point a finger at the Torah-core community and blame them for what happened here. I’m telling you – if not for them, we wouldn’t have made it through this, and I’m not a member of that group,” she stresses.

“If the members of the Torah-core community hadn’t sounded their cry about what was happening here, and if people from outside Lod hadn’t stepped in – people from all over the country – to patrol the streets and man lookout posts on the roofs, I really doubt whether we would still be alive today. I’m purposely not calling them ‘settlers,’ because they are all people who live in the State of Israel,” she adds.

Barginski is a teacher in an elementary school in Lod, and lives in an area that is surrounded by Arab neighborhoods on all sides. “There’s no ‘ceasefire’ where I live,” she says. “True, the big things are no longer happening, but every few days something ‘small’ occurs. For instance, there’s a road that connects [Ganei Aviv] with the rest of Lod, and two bridges pass over this road. They [the Arabs] throw stones down onto the road from those bridges all day long, and especially at night. Yesterday, a car was damaged while driving through, and this morning they threw stones at a bus.

“We live here without any sense of personal security,” she emphasizes. “If I need to return home after dark, I’m terrified. I have number 100 [Israel Police] punched onto my cell phone screen before I set out, and I keep the screen turned on the whole time I’m going through Lod, until I reach our neighborhood.”

We ask her what happens if chas v’chalilah she finds herself in an ambush with Arabs throwing stones at her. “If we call the police, 99% of the time they don’t turn up,” she states. “Security here has been non-existent for a long time already. The State has simply abandoned us.”

All the same, Lod residents continue to call the police for help. “Since last year, we’ve called the police several times, so that if and when we make an official petition to the courts, we’ll have proof that we were calling them and not getting a satisfactory response.

“Last year, for instance, we called a number of times to complain about the general security situation here, when Arabs were shooting each other. Naturally the police did nothing about it. Their last failure to respond was a month before the riots broke out. I had called to report that I’d heard the sounds of shooting from what seemed like automatic rifle fire. The police officer who took the call told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. He said I must have gotten confused, and mistaken the sound of fireworks for shooting – and then he hung up on me.”

If things were bad before the most recent conflict with Gaza, during Operation Guardian of the Walls the situation simply exploded. “At one point I had to flee Lod,” Ahuva reveals. “It was half an hour before the Arabs blocked off the only access road to our neighborhood. I took my 82-year-old mother, my 14-year-old daughter, and two of her friends, and literally fled from Ganei Aviv. There’s no security here, none at all,” she concludes.