top of page

Zohar Saves His Father

The skies are open and the roads spread out ahead of the young people with their feet on the pedals. Zohar Shachar, 15 years old, loves to head out for off-road biking on Saturday mornings. This is the safest time to ride, because the roads are nearly empty. Zohar has been practicing with a triathlon challenge group in the Gaza Envelope for five years already. This past year his father, Avi, had joined as well.

The skies were still dark when they left their home on Kibbutz Or HaNer and met up with their friends at the gas station near Kfar Aza. They climbed onto their bikes and had barely ridden half a kilometer, when the rocket barrage began on October 7th. They reached the nearby concrete shelters at the roadside, but realized they needed to get home. Avi and Zohar got into the car along with Itai, Zohar's friend. Zohar’s father Avi stepped on the gas as hard as he could. They reached the entrance to the Chetz Shachor memorial, and they saw a white pickup truck blocking the road. People in IDF uniforms were standing by it, so Avi headed towards them, stopped and shouted: "We're Jews, call an ambulance! We have wounded people!" But the soldiers opened fire in bursts of bullets. They were not IDF soldiers, but terrorists.

Zohar was the first to realize what was happening and yelled, "Abba, they're terrorists!" The boy pushed the car into drive, released the handbrake and shouted: "Abba, floor it!" They turned towards the gas station. Avi, Zohar and Itai were wounded. What could they do? Avi got out of the car on his own, asked the staff at the station for help and they bandaged him as well as they could.

Time passed, but the ambulance didn't arrive. Anna, a friend from the group, offered to take them in her car to go find medical treatment, and they eventually met up with an ambulance which took them to hospital, where they were well cared for.

"I was born in Kibbutz Kfar Etzion", Avi says. "One day before David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the State, fire was set to the kibbutz, and to all the soldiers who were defending it and protecting the road to Jerusalem. When the Kibbutz was won back in the Six Day War, the children of Kfar Etzion returned, with Jews from Israel and from abroad, including my parents who made Aliyah from the U.S. to make the desert bloom. Today Gush Etzion and Kfar Etzion within it are flourishing areas.

"We know that our neighbors don't always love us", Avi connects the past to the present, "but it's our home. We will return to the Gaza Envelope and rebuild our communities. This is our country."


bottom of page