Despite Iranian bombing, mission West Bank accomplished


Yesterday at 5 am we arrived home safely from the West Bank. Our trip started in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening and originally we planned to stay the night in Tel Aviv to avoid crossing into the West Bank late at night in a country at war. But due to the imminent Iranian threat our security team at home decided we had to drive straight to The West Bank. We had cross to Bethlehem area by foot and met Diana Babish on the other side.

Just when we were in the house, the bombing started. As you can see on the video we made (below), the missiles were flying on top of our heads and terrified dogs were running on the streets. At that point we knew we had to wait until the morning to know whether we could stay, or whether we had to set our evacuation plan in motion.

Our evacuation plan involved Nabil, our trusted Palestinian driver to take us to the Jordanian border. Our friends in Royal Jordanian Airlines would have taken us and a dog from the Diana’s shelter back home. But also the airspace in Jordan closed that evening, so it seemed as though we were going to spend unforeseeable time in Jordan.

Thankfully, the next morning the bombing stopped and the airspace opened. We decided to stay. We bought food for dogs and cats, not a lot, as Diana’s car is very small, but with the money we gave her, 7.500 euro cash (including 2000 euro’s from our Finnish partner Animal Aid without Borders), she can come back every week to buy more food. We visited two vets who Diana works with and we paid them 500 euro each, an amount that they will receive every month now, so they can continue to treat injured animals for the next months ahead.

In the afternoon we went to an orphanage and gave a presentation, explaining that dogs and cats also feel pain and that no one should ever hurt and animal. I was not scared when the bombing started, because we expected it to happen and we were prepared for it. But the idea of meeting 40 children, that did terrify me. The children turned out to be lovely, very excited to see us and polite.

Animal Heroes In Orphanage

We went to Diana’s shelter where we had time to visit each of the 100 dogs that are living there. It always breaks my heart to think they are the ‘lucky’ ones. They are cared for, they are safe, but in an ideal world, there would not be a need for shelters, just like there would not be a need for orphanages.

After a long and intense long day, we went back to Diana’s house and spend the evening with her family and ate delicious Palestinian food that her mother cooked for us. They were all quite affected by the bombing. Most people we met are against any form of violence and pray for the war to end.

The next morning we picked up Yafa, an 11 month old puppy that has been in Diana’s shelter for most of her life. It was time to go home. Personally, this is always the most difficult part. The idea of leaving Diana and her family behind in a country at war was not easy.

At Tel Aviv airport there was chaos, every flight was overbooked. After a lengthy interview with security members we were told we could not be on the flight as it was overbooked. Then a miracle happened, an employee of El Al who loves animals walked over to us with two boarding passes and said she made it happen for us to go home. After a complicated day at the airport, we were free to go home.

Despite the difficult circumstances, Diana still risks her life every day to save animals. She is a great example to me personally, someone whose determination and courage I admire.

Thank you for your donation to support Diana’s extraordinary work to save animals. We supported animals in the West Bank from the beginning of the war and with your help we will do so, for as long as it is needed.

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