After another brutal night of shelling in Tel Aviv, former Perth car dealer Adam Golding has given a chilling insight into the violence escalating at his adopted Israeli home.
Mr Golding, who left Perth in 2010 after his business collapsed, told _The West Australian _yesterday he had been forced to spend part of Saturday night in the stairwell of his apartment block near the Yarkon River, after public warnings from Hamas of a planned 9pm strike.
The attack came on time, but Mr Golding said he would only consider leaving Tel Aviv if Lebanon-based paramilitary group Hizbollah became involved in the conflict.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said on Saturday that the Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv was arranging a one-off, assisted departure for Australians from the Gaza Strip because of the indiscriminate attacks from militants.
The fighting was sparked this month after Israel accused Hamas of killing three abducted teenagers, who were found in a field north of the city of Hebron.
But Mr Golding, whose father David was a Perth car dealer identity with Premier Motors, vowed to stay put and continue working for a local stockbroking company. He was not surprised by Israel's withering attacks on Gaza in recent days and said Australian authorities had made phone calls and dropped leaflets warning residents to leave their homes.
"There's a lot of propaganda coming out from Hamas, but you can only poke the bear for so long before it strikes back," Mr Golding said as the Palestinian death toll rose above 160 yesterday.
"Hamas can only probably take so much bombing. At this stage, I'm going to keep the gloves on and keep fighting . . . I don't think I'd want to just turn tail and flee."
In a Facebook posting on Saturday night, Mr Golding wrote that rockets were "raining" from Gaza as raid sirens sang a "mournful note" amid booming explosions over his apartment block. He said yesterday that he had heard constant explosions from Israel's missile interceptors.
Mr Golding was confronted with Israel life's realities last year as he sat in his office block in Herzliya and watched missiles sail past his window.
He said nearby Ben-Gurion Airport had been closed on Friday after Hamas targeted it with rockets from the Gaza Strip and locals were regularly herded into safety bunkers in recent days.
"We're sick to death of going down to the bomb shelter, so we were all in the stairwells of the apartment block," he said.
"Curiously, some of my neighbours were having a rooftop barbecue, so it didn't seem to worry them too much. But it is disconcerting . . . when they (missiles and interceptors) connect, there are very loud explosions and you can hear the shrapnel falling on to houses.
"Some of the missiles getting through can punch their way through concrete, but they're not exploding warheads as such. They're just flying dust-cans at the moment."
Mr Golding said most locals seemed "immune" to attacks because it had become part of their everyday lives.
"An American woman in my office was very teary on Friday, but my Israeli colleagues were saying there was nothing to worry about," he said, adding they had been forced to evacuate soon after.
He denied reports that the fighting had turned Tel Aviv into a ghost town and described it as a place "not dissimilar to Perth" with its hot climate and beach. "Other than that, I don't think Israel is first on the map of travel destinations for West Australians," he said.
'Some of my neighbours were having a rooftop barbecue, so it didn't seem to worry them too much.'" *Adam Golding *