Marshall Frieze grew up in Ra’anana, Israel from the age of 15 to 22 and still has close family living in the area. We spoke to him in light of the recent terror attack to gain his perspective.
Only 400 yards away from his family’s home, a terror attack struck Ra’anana exactly 100 days since the conflict began, killing one and injuring 17 others. Marshall Frieze grew up in the neighbourhood and his son, mother, and sister live in the location of the attack. He recalls looking at the TV in a dream-like shock at being able to recognise the surroundings of his upbringing on international news, only now under devastating circumstances.
“It happened at the bus stop around the corner from my mum’s apartment while she was at home and my sister was in the location of the incident probably about half an hour before it actually occurred.”
The attack, which was later supported but not claimed by Hamas, involved multiple connected incidents in which cars were rammed into pedestrians on Ahuza Street and Haroshet Street. A 79-year-old woman was stabbed and later died in hospital due to her injuries received in the hijacking of her car and six children aged between 10 and 16 were treated in hospital for injuries between mild to moderate condition.
“Ra’anana has a very large Anglo-Saxon community. So, there are other people who are from Leeds and around the UK who live there, so it’s very much a place that people in the UK are aware of and people go and visit frequently. A lot of people at one time will end up in Ra’anana because it’s so close to home.” In fact, Ra’anana is ranked second in highest immigrant absorption in Israel with almost 17,300 (22%) of its residents coming from the UK, US, South Africa, and France.
Though Israel has reported few terror incidents since the war began, Israel remains in a state of intense shock since the events of 7th October. Marshall confides he has felt constantly alert to his family’s safety
since after the attack: “I don’t think anybody feels safe right now. I think, in this moment in time, we’re living in a very dangerous environment where incidents can happen at any time, any place, because they’re completely indiscriminate; these terrorists injure and kill as many people as possible irrespective of race or religion to create as much damage as possible.”
Though the Leeds Jewish community offers a supportive environment, Marshall feels the weight of protest groups’ collective anger in his daily life: “I don’t think I’ve ever felt as much anti-Jewish feeling as I feel now and as I see on the streets. I think it’s really intimidating with the marches that are going on. And I think it’s very important that I state: any innocent life that is lost, is one innocent life too many, but I think the anger on the streets is channelled in the wrong direction. There will be many people in the Leeds community who have family and friends who live and work in Israel: we’re not unique. There are a lot of people with the same challenges, and all we want is the end of the war and the only way is by the return of the hostages.”