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Saving the Community of Pri Gan

Benny Meshulam never imagined that he would need to choose between saving his own friends and neighbors and saving the residents of the nearby community of Pri Gan. As the unimaginable crisis unfolded on October 7th though, this is exactly what happened.

Benny is the Rashbatz (the coordinator of ongoing military security) in the growing settlement of Shlomit. He is trained to handle all of Shlomit’s security needs and knows how to take care of security threats and crises until the army arrives. Despite his experience, the situation that he faced on the morning of October 7th was exceptionally complicated.

On the morning of the festival of Simchat Torah, Benny began to receive reports that terrorists had infiltrated the neighboring settlement of Pri Gan. Pri Gan is an older community, and there are only two people on its kitat konenut (the armed civilian squad that protects the settlement). The armed civilian team fought bravely and stopped the terrorists, but they didn’t have enough manpower to keep things under control.

Benny hesitated: Should I go to help the people in Pri Gan? Or should I stay in Shlomit in case something happens?

He knew that the terrorists could reach Shlomit in a matter of minutes. Shlomit was filled with many young families, and it was his job to protect them. Even so, Benny couldn’t ignore the threat that hung over his neighbors in Pri Gan. Benny drove to Pri Gan with two of his friends and left the other members of the armed civilian squad to protect Shlomit.

They quickly reached the neighboring settlement and began fighting against the terrorists. Six of the nine men who were fighting were injured. Everyone who was still able to fight continued fighting the terrorists, until they ran away. Later, soldiers arrived and helped evacuate the wounded.

The members of Shlomit's armed civilian squad didn’t have to go and protect Pri Gan, but they couldn’t stop themselves. They were outnumbered and faced terrorists who were far better armed, but the people from Shlomit were more driven and determined. They were prepared to do everything to protect, save, and support their friends. They courageously chased the terrorists away from the entire area and bravely protected seven settlements.

"I can't really relate to the term ‘hero’, because when push comes to shove, I’m just someone who was wounded," said one of the members of the armed civilian squad in Shlomit, "But I understand that we were a group of heroes." A group of heroes who are first and foremost friends.


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