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The Bravery of Aner Shapira

Aner Shapira, a combat soldier in the IDF Nachal unit, was on leave for the weekend and went to a party, located near the Gaza border. The Gaza border has a special fence with many IDF soldiers guarding it. That morning of Simchat Torah, on October 7th, something very unusual happened. There were a lot of sirens, and many Arab terrorists crossed the border from Gaza into Israel, and entered the huge party which was taking place in the fields next to Kibbutz Re’im.

Aner was quick and strong. He did not escape through the fields but ran quickly to a sheltered area that is like an outdoor ‘safe room’. About thirty friends from the party were crowded together in this space; Aner calmed everyone around him and told them that everything would be fine. He went on to tell them he was in a combat unit in the army and would protect them. He listened to their fears and then gave each of them a role so they would help him protect everyone.

Aner announced that, “if the terrorists throw a hand grenade toward us (a small explosive that explodes a few seconds after it is thrown), my role will be to throw it back at them.” And this is exactly what he did. The terrorists wanted all the people hiding in the shelter to come out or die. They threw a hand grenade inside and Aner threw it back at them. He did this over and over again - seven times.

“Look", he said to his friends nearby,” if the terrorists continue to throw the hand grenades at us, you need to pick it up like this and immediately throw it back before it explodes.” Aner, the brave combat soldier, was hit by the 8th hand grenade. He couldn’t continue fighting and died in battle at the age of 22. Thanks to Aner, his friends continued to fight, and many lives of civilians and soldiers were saved. One of his friends said: “Aner Shapira from the Nachal unit saved our lives and he deserves an honorary medal. He was our guardian angel.”

Aner’s parents, Shira and Moshe, summed up his bravery in one sentence: “Aner found himself in a moment of fate and turned it into a moment of purpose.” Aner didn’t know he would be in danger, he didn’t think he would die that day, but the moment he realized he was at war, he gave it his all.


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