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What Hapened at the Kibbutz  

As we step into the blackness of the torched home, my feet crunch over tiny bits of brokenness: broken furniture, broken roof tiles, broken glass.

Wires and duct work dangle from the ceiling, while the melted blades of a ceiling fan droop like a sad version of Bugs Bunny.

We are in Kibbutz Be'eri, one of twenty or so little communities attacked by the 3,000 Hamas terrorists who besieged Israel on October 7.

Omri Kedem was here when the gunmen stormed in that Saturday morning. Hustling into their safe room, the family heard repeated shouts and banging on the door. Unable to force the family out, the Hamas attackers set fire to the house. Fortunately, their safe room helped them survive.

Omri takes us into what used to be his living room. He gestures to the two homes that border his backyard. In the place on the right lived a mother, father, and their four children. When Hamas came, they set the home on fire.

Eventually, the family jumped out the window. Hiding in the brush, the parents laid their children on the ground, stacking them up on each other—youngest to oldest. The mother and father then lay on top of this pile.

Ultimately, Hamas returned and shot the mother, the father, and the two oldest children. Only the two youngest survived.

Omri Kedem leads us on a tour of the kibbutz. It has a small-town resort feel—dwellings with tiled roofs and quaint gardens. Except now, in many cases, the roof tiles have slid down to the ground, the timbers beneath them having collapsed in the fires set by Hamas.

Nearly every home has a vinyl banner posted on the wall facing the street. It features the name and photo of the person murdered inside.

House after house. Name after name. Face after face. It is—literally—too much to take in.

I ask you. Where is the box of tissues big enough to stem the fountain of tears these families have cried? Where is the dictionary capable of describing the evil done here?

We return to our hotel—where the ceiling fan is not melted, and nothing is broken. Yet I cannot sleep for all I have seen. And in that sleeplessness, I taste a tiny morsel of the agony of Kibbutz Be'eri.

Open your mouth for the people who cannot speak, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor and needy.

-Proverbs 31:8,9

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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