(NewsNation) — Only a few Israeli cities have endured the brunt of the conflict with Hamas as intensely as Ashkelon, Israel. Every day the wail of sirens and the launch of Hamas rockets resonate across southern Israel, but nothing can compare to Oct. 7, 2023.
“It was one word: a massacre,” said Dr. Tal Bergman, deputy director of Barzilai University Medical Center, a major hospital in town that took in many of those patients injured in the raids.
“The floor — it had like huge spots of blood, and I was walking and there was blood here and blood there. I had my gym shoes that are very bright, they are not bright anymore — they are the color of red,” she recalled.
Since that day, hospital staff have constantly found themselves in the midst of it all. The hospital has been struck by rockets on four separate occasions, including a direct hit on the children’s center.
“God forbid if children were here and they are usually here,” Bergman said.
One of the rockets narrowly missed the OB-GYN clinic, while another caused a direct hit on the children’s center.
NewsNation’s national correspondent Robert Sherman visited Brazilai University Medical Center, but his discussion with Bergman was abruptly cut short by the blaring sirens, signaling incoming rockets.
In this region, civilians have a mere 30 seconds or less to reach shelter. Bergman guided NewsNation’s crew underground into the darkness, a scenario all too familiar to Israelis.
Minutes later, they resurfaced, returning from the shelters. This journey from safety to the surface has become an everyday reality for the residents there.
The hospital’s staff and patients, faced with this ongoing danger, are now questioning the world’s apparent indifference to their plight.
Hospitals are traditionally regarded as off-limits in wartime, raising significant international concerns and outrage when Hamas accused the Israelis of targeting a hospital in Gaza.
However, intelligence from the Canadians, the British and the Americans has confirmed the Israeli military was not responsible. Instead, it was determined to be a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket misfire.
Bergman expressed concerns about the media’s perceived lack of balance regarding Gaza. She said hospitals like the one in Ashkelon are meant solely for patient care, particularly for children.
“That’s the only thing we should do here. Take care of patients. They don’t use this place for other things. You don’t see the headquarters of the IDF here,” Bergman said.
Although the hospital staff acknowledges it cannot definitively discern Hamas’ intentions, the repeated targeting raises suspicions.
Nevertheless, Bergman said the staff perseveres, even though they’ve witnessed things that no one should have to.
“I think it’s hard to explain the cruelty. There are no words to explain this kind of cruelty,” Bergman said.