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They slaughtered us, and I miraculously survived

  • Liat A.M.'s story

They went from house to house. Tormenting. Butchering. Slaughtering. Looting. Torching. Kidnapping

My name is Liat A.M and I’m a survivor of the massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri.

Since the day of the massacre, I haven’t been on social media, but I signed on today for the first time in order to tell my story, a firsthand testimony that I will share in a series of posts. This is part one.

In memory of Noy Shosh, my close friend. In memory of the members of my community. In memory of the warriors from Be’eri’s Rapid Response Team, who fought for our home against evil: Arik Kraunik, Gil Bowomz, Hagayi Avni, Eitan Hadad, Shahar Tzemach. May their memories be a blessing. In memory of the security forces that came to fight in the fires of hell. And with a pained cry to bring all of the hostages home now!!!

Liat A.M


Saturday, October 7, at 6:30 am, I woke up to the sound of huge explosions.

The house was shaking. I wrote in our family Whatsapp group: “What could this be? Thunder? I’m seriously asking, it just woke me up!” At the same moment, my sister Ella wrote: “It sounds like a serious attack.” At 6:31 am, I wrote to my neighbor Evyatar:

“Did you close the metal windows [in your safe room]? I heard there’s a rocket attack in the area.”

He wrote back right away: “Yes. Are you okay?”

I answered that I was.

In the next few minutes, we received an alert about a terrorist infiltration in the kibbutz, and that we should enter our safe rooms and shut ourselves inside. At 7:05 am, my neighbor Gal, Evyatar’s partner, wrote: “Liati, come over to our place.” I answered that I was okay for now.

At 7:14 am, my brother-in-law Yair Avital, my sister’s partner and a member of Be’eri’s Rapid Response Team, wrote that there were gun battles inside [the kibbutz] and to lock the doors.

Something in my gut wouldn’t let me rest; I had a feeling that this time would be different. I got out of bed and got dressed.

I called Evyatar and Gal answered. She said, “Liati, come here now!”.

I asked her how I could get out of my house. She said, “Get up, exit through the back door, and I’ll wait for you at our entrance.”

"More knocks on the door. At this point, Evyatar asked: 'Who is it?'. Through the door we heard someone speaking Arabic."

In a 60-second decision, I grabbed my phone and ran barefoot to their house.

We slammed the door to the safe room and barricaded ourselves in with their three small children, one of whom was a 4-month-old baby, and Sasha the dog. My heart was pounding and I tried to catch my breath. No more than a few minutes had passed before we heard knocks on the door of the safe room. We looked at each other and stayed quiet. I thought to myself that maybe half an hour had passed, and it was surely the IDF.

More knocks on the door. At this point, Evyatar asked: “Who is it?” The knocks continued and Evyatar asked again. Through the door we heard someone speaking Arabic.

Evyatar yelled to him in Arabic: “Ahrujh min huna!” [Arabic for “Get out of here!) Another reply in Arabic, and again Evyatar told him to get out of here. And the terrorist left.

At this point, I still thought there were one or two terrorists. I cursed our luck that of all the houses, they had come to ours. But here, he just left, and in my naivety, I thought the whole event would surely be over soon. And in that moment, the gates of hell opened for us, a hell that even the devil couldn’t dream of.

It was around 7:45 am, and we tried to call the security forces to our house. I called everyone I could and in a quiet voice told them that there was, or maybe still is, a terrorist in the house and could they please come to help us.

"Horrifying noise came from outside, from every direction – gunshots, explosions, a battlefield."

As the minutes went by, the situation started to become clearer. And it wasn’t looking good. Be’eri was swarming with terrorists, though I still didn’t know that we were talking about hundreds. They went from house to house. Tormenting. Butchering. Slaughtering. Looting. Torching. Kidnapping.

Calls for help came from everywhere, from every neighborhood, and the army… the army didn’t come. The gunfights were nonstop. An hour passed and another hour. Horrifying noise came from outside, from every direction – gunshots, explosions, a battlefield. I went from despair to being deathly afraid, to holding on to the smallest seed of hope.

The electricity went out and with it, our ability to communicate, as my phone battery was dying. We slowly lost our connection with the outside world. I felt anxiety in every fiber of my being, for everyone in my family. My body ached and it hurt to breathe. At this point, we hadn’t heard from Ella, my sister, for hours. I knew that Yair had been injured during the fighting, but I didn’t know his condition or anything beyond that.

"I understood that it was entirely possible that I would be murdered there in the cruelest of ways."

I was crazy with worry, to the depths of my soul. I didn’t want to leave this life. I wasn’t ready to leave, and I understood that it was entirely possible that I would be murdered there in the cruelest of ways.

Another hour passed, every moment an eternity. We were more than 12 hours into the massacre; sitting in the dark, almost completely dehydrated, and had eaten the little food we had with us. I felt my breath getting heavy. My heart rate kept going up and down. And I was afraid. So afraid.

Our phones were dead. We were in the dark, but we found one of the kids’ games which brightened the room just a bit. We used a wooden stick to hold the door handle shut, so that we could rest for a bit instead of holding it.

I was out of air, I couldn’t breathe. I peed on some of the kids' clothes, and stuffed them by the bottom of the door to the safe room, in case the house was set on fire. I sat down on a blanket under the metal window while gunshots could be heard from all around, and held my hands to my sides. The despair.

Around 9:00 pm, as night fell, special forces arrived at our house, but told us that they couldn’t rescue us now. I looked at one of them and signaled to him, in a weak voice, “There’s a baby here!” And they left. So we returned to the same nightmare, the same horrific loop, the same deathly fear that hung in the air. And I am not ready; I don’t want to die. It will be okay. It will be okay. It will be okay, I said to myself.

At around 4:00 am, the security forces returned and told us they had come to rescue us, together with the couple next door and their daughters. We stood with the soldiers inside the dark house. They asked us to pack a bag (which I didn’t have) and to put on our shoes. Gal gave me a pair of her sandals to wear.

"I held Daniel close to my chest and put my hand over his head, on his face. If something happened, I would take the bullet. Just not him."

Darkness fell over the abyss, with the smell of war and death in the air. We were rescued under fire, through the back garden. Evyatar carried a child, Gal carried a child, and I held the baby, Daniel. A number of soldiers protected us, from ahead of us and from behind. There were still gunfights in the surrounding neighborhoods. I held Daniel close to my chest and put my hand over his head, on his face. If something happened, I would take the bullet. Just not him.

We marched through a wall of smoke to get to the armored military vehicle, and we all crammed inside. A soldier yelled for us to put our heads down. Heads down. The vehicle shook and I held Daniel tightly, so that he wouldn’t be crushed. I was on my knees, and my legs got completely bruised.

We arrived at the assembly area near the entrance to Be’eri, and there I heard for the first time that my sisters and their families had been rescued before us and evacuated. They were alive. I’m ending part one of this story here. My heart is wounded and it is not easy for me to put these things in writing.

Thank you to everyone who reads this. Thank you to those that were with me on the line, in the hours when I was under siege in the safe room. Thank you to everyone who tried to help however they could. Thank you to those who were there, and to those who still are. Thank you to my beloved family, who are here with me as we endure this difficult and painful journey. I miss home. We will have a home.

A destroyed and burnt house

The front part of the house is destroyed and burned

PART II (Posted on Nov 15, 2023)

Diary entry from November 7, one month after the massacre

I had to get home. My brother agreed to make the journey there with me. I wore black and I felt guilty because I was returning to the place from which I had been rescued. The place where the ground was still soaked with my friends’ fresh blood. Why am I alive and they are not?

On Friday night (October 6th), I went to sleep happy with what I have, in my home and in my life. On Saturday (October 7th), my roots were cruelly ripped from this land. We had almost arrived at the gate of the kibbutz and I didn’t recognize the place. The area was full of heavy military equipment that I had never seen before, and dozens of soldiers. The air was thick with clouds of dust.

“We passed by the neighborhoods that had been destroyed and burned to ashes.”

Gal and I drove on the road by the perimeter fence, and I almost didn’t want to make it home. What was waiting for me there? We passed by the neighborhoods that had been destroyed and burned to ashes. When I was rescued (on October 8th), I still had this fantasy that I would return home in a day or two. Who could have imagined the extent of the destruction that took place in such a short period of time?

We parked next to the playground adjacent to my neighborhood, where Hamas had established one of its command centers. I took a look around, but my brain immediately blocked all of the images I was taking in, so I started to take photos. My house was still standing. Gal and I went inside and I walked from room to room. I had one suitcase that I wanted to fill with all of the things that are most important to me. But everything is important to me. I want to take my whole home with me. I want to be home. The life I had in this house, the heart of this home, feels like it no longer exists.

The walls and stairs of the house destroyed and burned

I walked between the rooms. In the first room, my clean laundry was still hanging on the drying rack. But at this point, it was no longer clean, and I felt as if it belonged to some other woman, a part of her left behind in the life she had before October 7th. I took the clothes off the rack and placed them gently on the bed in the guestroom. In the bathroom, my makeup had fallen off the shelf, maybe from the impact of the explosions. I packed up a few items to take with me.

My empty coffee cup and a teaspoon were still in the sink. Another sign of the life that was once here, not long ago. The kitchen felt like it had been turned upside down. The molding and the blinds had collapsed, there were broken items everywhere, and the window was cracked. A lamp had fallen and shattered on the floor. I took a cooler from the closet and filled it with all the dry food I had purchased before that cursed Saturday. The cashews that I love to freeze, a bag of coffee grounds, a package of cookies, crackers, gum. I can’t explain why.

My work calendar was still on the kitchen table, but I didn’t dare look at it or take it with me. A plan for the future, my schedule of appointments at the clinic for my clients and dear friends that had been murdered. Next to the calendar, an orchid that my sister Sofie gave me as a gift for the holiday stood basking in the few rays of sunlight coming through the back window. I wanted to water it, but the water had been disconnected. “Hold on,” I thought, “I’ll come back to get you.”

In my bedroom, the sheets were all over the place; I didn’t have time to make the bed on that Saturday as I usually like to. I folded the blanket neatly and arranged the pillows. In the living room, I gathered the few things I was able to pack. I was torn between my heart, that wanted to stay and lick my wounds, and my head, that understood I needed to go. Is this an ending? What kind of ending is it?

“I left my house abandoned and desolate, orphaned.”

I left my house abandoned and desolate, orphaned. Within the walls of my house are all of my secrets. A whole life that I once had. Peaks of happiness, laughter and tears, great loves, heartbreaks, successes, failures, hopes, dreams. The life I had.

I took a small towel, laid it on the dirty floor, and sat down on it facing the small cabinet that held my jewelry boxes. I was terrified I wouldn’t find them there. The jewelry was my mother’s, who had passed away suddenly at the age of 38, and they are the few things of hers I have left. I anxiously opened the small cabinet door. And there they were. I breathed again and moved everything to a small bag that I would take to a safe place.

“The floor of the storage room was stained with blood, as was the small Israeli flag that laid there and my shoes.”

I turned off the switch in the electrical box and locked the doors. Next to the front door, I opened the storage room to get the running shoes I had bought a few weeks before the massacre. I yelled for my brother. The floor of the storage room was stained with blood, as was the small Israeli flag that laid there and my shoes. Gal suggested that I take a different pair of shoes. I refused. I wanted these, with soil from the fields that I ran in still stuck in the grooves of the soles. I insisted, like a little girl, and got so emotional that he took them and washed them in order to appease me. We both knew that I would never wear them again.

The Israeli flag is thrown on the floor and covered in blood

Liat A.M.

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