"Come on into Gaza. A number of surprises waiting for your sons, the least of which is death. Hamas," read the SMS message received Wednesday by a number of Israelis on their cellular phones.
Attempts to call the phone number from which the message was sent, that appeared to have an British country code, was met with an automated message the number had been disconnected.
Text message sent by Hamas to Israeli civilians (Photo: Nava Inbar)
Nava Inbar, a resident of Tel Aviv, does not usually receive text message early in the morning. "When I saw that I received a message at 8:52 am, a red light already went off in my head," Nava told Ynet. "In the first second that you see it, you're mainly surprised. What? How did they reach me? After that, it's replaced by a sense of sorrow, anger, and intrusion into your privacy."
"It didn't scare me. On the contrary. If anything, it makes me want to give it to them even harder. In my opinion, it is really a pathetic move. If they tried to arouse fear, they failed in their mission," Nava added.
Kobi Jaselkofy of Ariel was mainly amused by the message. "It is completely insane. Apparently they're pretty desperate over there," he said. "What is for certain is that this isn't what's going to help them."
Yael Rubenstein of Tel Aviv at first thought the SMS was an unsuccessful promotional attempt. "I was certain it was another advertisement from some club in the city. I thought to myself that it was a really bad joke to call a club Gaza at a time like this. But then I understood that this is actually something serious.
"I wasn't scared because I knew that it wasn't directed at me personally. It's not such a big deal to get your hands on a list of telephone numbers and send out a mass message. But let's just say that I wasn't going to call back the number on the screen," Yael said.
Yael's work colleague, Liron Morris, was indeed shaken up by the text message. "It seems very legitimate to me to be scared when someone gets a hold of your telephone number and threatens you.
"This is a kind of threat, and even if you know that it isn't really directed toward you, it is still stressful, especially when my husband is currently on reserve duty," Liron explained.
About two weeks ago, Hamas sent a text message to many residents in Israel in which it warned that the Gaza offensive would provoke the firing of a massive number of rockets into Israel.