October 7, 2023 is a date that no Israeli will ever forget. At home, we call it “Seven Boom” [a children’s game], only in our case, it’s anything but a children’s game.
Our “Seven Boom” started on the morning of October 7, with red alert sirens and running to our safe room. In addition to rocket explosions, we heard bursts of shooting. We called the local authorities to report it, we called our relatives to make sure everyone was safe. My son Yagev told me that he and his wife were in their safe room. The word “safe” would be turned on its head very soon.
I tried with every fiber of my being to find a solution, to get help, to get them evacuated. Nothing was possible.
The commanders of community security squads in the area started asking for immediate backup. We were flooded with reports from all over of terrorists trying to break into houses. We soon realized that terrorists had infiltrated our neighborhood, too. As the number of cries for help continued to rise, we realized that we were facing a completely new type of situation.
I talked with Yagev again. He told me that there were terrorists behind his home. By that time, I already knew that his neighborhood had been being targeted by terrorists, and that they had already murdered a father and his daughter. As time passed, the numbers [of victims] grew and grew. The house in front of Yagev and Rimon’s, where a family with a 10-day old baby lived, had been set on fire and smoke had started seeping into their safe room. I didn’t tell Yagev, to spare him additional stress. I tried with every fiber of my being to find a solution, to get help, to get them evacuated. Nothing was possible.
At around 9 am on October 7, we lost contact with Yagev. We hoped that this was just because his phone had died. In the afternoon, when we started hearing sounds of the army, my husband Oren and I understood that the military was searching the houses, one by one. We started to understand the incomprehensible magnitude of the disaster.
We were flooded with reports from all over of terrorists trying to break into houses.
We made it to the Kibbutz common room. In the beginning, they told us that they had searched the neighborhood and everything was fine. That didn’t reassure us. Oren drove with a soldier to Yagev’s house. Yagev and Rimon weren’t there. Neither were the dogs. The rapid response squad joined them and found signs of a struggle, bullets on the floor, and blood on the door. That was our last piece of information.
Rimon (36) and Yagev (34) – kidnapped by Hamas
We only know that a phone battery can always be charged, but a hole in your heart cannot be filled. Nevertheless, we’re not losing hope. We’re optimistic. Together, we’ll bring Yagev and Rimon back, safe and sound. Together, we’ll bring them all back.
Esther B. – Yagev’s mother
Esther B. sitting on the left holding a poster of kidnapped son and daughter in law