Fallen IDF soldier who saved 100 people in kibbutz Be’eri honoured in London

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Fallen IDF soldier who saved 100 people in kibbutz Be’eri honoured in London

More than 600 young professionals gather to raise funds for trauma therapy for survivors of the Supernova music festival massacre

Naomi is a freelance features writer

Elchanan Kalmanson
Elchanan Kalmanson

Elchanan Kalmanson was a hero. So too are his his brother and his nephew. They all sprang into action on October 7 and, over the course of 16 hours and while taking heavy fire, saved over 100 people in Kibbutz Be’eri. Sadly, Elchanan was killed fighting Hamas terrorists. He was posthumously honoured in front of 600 people at the Israel ball at London’s Nobu Hotel Portman Square this week.

The family, visiting from Israel, came on stage to speak. Tal spoke about her father Elchanan, and his brother Menahem, himself an extraordinary hero, broke down in tears recalling that fateful day. Elchanan’s grave is the first in Israel’s history to be marked with the insignia of both the IDF and Mossad as he served both organisations with distinction.

Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely presented presented Menahem with the Hero of Zion Award for his service. She said: “Just like the Maccabees won, even though they were not very many, we believe our modern Maccabees will win this war. We will see victory.”

This positive message was reiterated by both Douglas Murray and Eylon Levy who appeared on the giant screens with pre-recorded uplifting video messages from Israel. Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson of Chabad Belgravia led the lighting of the Chanukiah “to usher in the Festival of Light as we Jews have done for millennia.”

The Kalmanson family

This magical night of communal unity and solidarity with Israel “took a month to pull together” according to event coordinator Romy Pikoos. Generous sponsorship by a range of London’s leading Jewish communal organisations, including Jewish News as media partner, kept ticket prices low to ensure that all could afford to come.

Guests helped themselves to a Middle Eastern-style buffet of mini challahs, salads, schnitzel, smoked salmon and shawarma. At the end of the night a dessert table was set up with two kinds of tiramisu, crispy churros and mini doughnuts on sticks taking centre stage – it was the first night of Chanukah, after all!

Musical entertainment by Avi Kraus, Tomer Raz, Muzika and DJ Jonny Bluestone had the crowd got dancing to both Ashkenazi and Mizrachi tunes, with some even invited on to the stage.

The Israel Ball was orchestrated by its chairman, Vladimir Bermant, founder of Hineni Capital. Speaking to Jewish News he said: “The Israel Ball was a magnificent night that shows the passion and love for Israel that British Jewry holds, which can only be expressed through unapologetic Zionism and Jewish togetherness. Am Yisrael chai.”


Proceeds from the night went to trauma therapy for survivors of the Supernova Music Festival massacre. Click here to donate.


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