British mother in Israel calls for ‘peace and quiet’ amid Iran tensions

Britons living in Israel have described the “nerve-racking” experience of attacks from Iran as a mother living in Tel Aviv called for peace between the two nations.

The UK Government has stressed the need for “de-escalation and moderation” amid reports of a retaliatory attack by Israel against Iran, following a barrage of Iranian drones and missiles over the weekend.

Tel Aviv-based Kate Leaman, a finance journalist and mother of two from London, told the PA news agency she has “had enough” and does not want Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu to retaliate after a week of heightened tension.

Woman with two boys
Kate Leaman said she felt prepared for the Iranian strike (Kate Leaman/PA)

“I really don’t want (Netanyahu) to retaliate, because I just had enough,” the 45-year-old said.

“Everyone, my friends and neighbours, we just want peace and quiet and just to get on with our lives.

“I do understand that something needs to be done to protect the state of Israel, for its existence – and I just wish I could have some peace and quiet for a while for me and my kids.”

Ms Leaman said she felt “prepared” for Iran’s strike last weekend as she had heard warnings for about a week that an attack was imminent.

“On the day it actually happened, I was actually in the cinema… I came out and turned my phone on and suddenly all these messages were pinging through,” she said.

She received messages from Israel’s Home Front Command, “who instruct us when bad things are about to happen,” and rang her ex-husband, who was with her daughter, seven, and son, five, to discuss their preparedness for the incoming attack.

“I took a sleeping pill before 11pm, and I thought, you know what, what’s going to be is going to be, basically,” she said.

“I thought, well, hopefully I’ll wake up in the morning and if I don’t at least I won’t know what’s going on.

“I know a lot of people sat up all night watching the news, lots of my friends, everyone was exhausted the next day, and then at 7am I woke up, checked the news, and I was like, okay, I’m alive, I’m here, that’s good.”

She said the morning after the attack was “surreal”.

“It was like a normal day but I went outside to see what was going on outside and people were just in shock,” she said.

Rabbi Michael Zaroovabeli, 40, told PA he and his wife gathered their five children, aged two to 12, into the safe room in their home in Bet Shemesh during the night of the weekend’s attack and prayed to be kept safe.

Woman standing with daughter
Kate Leaman said the morning after the attack was surreal (Kate Leaman/PA)

Rabbi Zaroovabeli, originally from London, said: “I think it was around 11pm we heard the news, and we knew that we’ve got a couple of hours potentially, so we moved a couple of kids to the safety room at that stage.

“We could hear very loud bangs at around 1am and we assumed that was probably the interception of the Iron Dome but it was really loud, even louder than usual.

“Then we quickly moved the rest of the kids to the safety room, and we pretty much got everything ready there because we didn’t know what could happen.

Man looking at camera
Rabbi Michael Zaroovabeli told PA he and his family prayed during the attack (Rabbi Michael Zaroovabeli/PA)

“It was worrying, it was very worrying, but also, we prayed a lot because as observant Jews, a lot of people will pray at that stage in time or pray before and ask everyone else to pray that will be the safest situation possible.”

He fell asleep after around 4am after spending several hours waiting and praying in the reinforced room surrounded by his wife and children.

“If it was a regular rocket attack from Hamas, we’ll be nervous but at the same time, we’re accustomed to it, but because it’s come from Iran you don’t know what can happen so it was very nerve-racking,” he added.