By Linoy Barokas, UJS Shlicha
Recently Israelis and Jews around the world have marked the shloshim, the thirty days of mourning since 1,400 Israelis were horrifically murdered by Hamas terrorists. Among the intense and indescribable sadness, the people of Israel have been brave and heroic in the face of utter hatred and we have seen stories of Israeli woman using their resourcefulness, wisdom and creativity to save not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them. Here are three stories which were the headlines of the news in Israel.
The woman who fought terror with tea and biscuits
On Saturday morning, October 7, 2023, Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip invaded Israel, some of them making their way to the southern town of Ofakim. Five terrorists entered David and Rachel’s home and held them hostage for 15 hours.
The terrorists, who were heavily armed, entered the couple’s home through a ground floor window and repeatedly threatened to kill them.
After being informed that the couple were being held hostage inside their home, the Israeli special forces began to negotiate with the terrorists, aided by the David and Rachels son, Evyatar, who is a police officer who was waiting outside for their safe return.
Any Jewish mother knows that an empty stomach can result in many problems, anger included. Rachel, the ultimate Jewish mother asked the terrorists if they were hungry and presumably the answer was “yes,” as she ended up serving them coffee and cookies.
However, Rachel didn’t just feed her captors; she hosted them, in an incredible display of bravery. She offered them lunch, chatted with them to distract them and bandaged one of their hands that was injured. In turn, they sang to her: songs by Israeli Mizrahi singer Lior Narkis Finally at2:30 a.m. they were rescued by security forces, and reunited with their son.
Rachel’s story has touched the hearts of many Israelis, who are desperately clinging to good news in these dark times. Her unlikely hospitality has also provided some comedic relief, with various memes and jokes about the quality of “Rachel’s cafe” and coffee and cookies circulating on Israeli social media and WhatsApp groups. This good-natured teasing is testament to the tenderness that Israel feels for their new hero, Rachel, and everything she represents: survival, kindness, foresight and hope.
Watch the full interview with Rachel here (Including English subtitles)
Rachel meets US President Joe Biden, who gives her a hug
A man who decided to get a tattoo of Rachel on his arm
Israeli woman Inbar Lieberman, 25, is hailed a hero for saving kibbutz Nir Am from invading Hamas
An Israeli woman has been hailed a hero after saving the community of Nir Am from Hamas as infiltrating terrorists began to invade.
Inbar Lieberman led a group of residents to kill more than two dozen advancing terrorists while defending the kibbutz (community), just a mile from the Gaza Strip.
Lieberman, who has been part of the security detail in the region since December 2022 , heard explosions erupting early Saturday morning when Hamas launched the unprecedented and deadly attack on Israel.
She quickly realized that the sounds were different to those she heard during the usual rocket attacks on the kibbutz and rushed to open the armory and distribute guns among the 12-member security team.
The 25-year-old placed her squad of kibbutzniks in strategic positions across the settlement, set up ambushes, and turned the tables on the incoming forces.
She killed five terrorists herself, while the others claimed the lives of 20 more over a four hour period. Nir Am was turned into an impenetrable fortress, while nearby kibbutzim's suffered heavier losses.
Nir Am is among the few communities that Hamas terrorists attempted to enter but were repelled.
How an Arab-Israeli women who serves as a news anchor, saved families from Hamas massacre
Channel 13's Arab-Israeli news anchor Lucy Aharish saved two families from the barbarity of Hamas's attack on October 7, known as "Black Saturday," as the terrorists invaded southern Israel. The journalist received a call from residents who were besieged in their homes in the community of Kfar Aza, as terrorists attempted to break into the safe room.
It began with a Facebook post written by Sharon Shimoni, which said that her brother received a message from his best friend's wife that the couple and their friends were hiding in their shelter. The post reached Lucy, who asked to help them.
Shimoni recalls how Lucy intervened by mobilizing her husband, actor Tzahi Halevi, known for his role in the hit Israeli series "Fauda," and the members of his reservist unit. "Lucy didn't just pass on information, she conducted a real private rescue operation. She gave her husband's team the precise location and stayed in touch with them and my brother online throughout the operation," Shimoni wrote.
“She prayed as a mother prays for her children, and held her breath until the terrorists were eliminated and the two families were freed.”
Lucy also addressed the global audience: When anchoring the news later, she switched to English to talk about the situation in Israel. “I am sorry I am using my microphone to send the message to the world. As a journalist, it is my only weapon,” she said.
Watch Luch's speech here (with English subtitles):