‘Just pray’: How an Israeli father and son helped save hundreds from Hamas

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‘Just pray’: How an Israeli father and son helped save hundreds from Hamas

Oren and his son fought terrorists at the Nova music festival for hours. He told Jewish News that he believes Israel will emerge stronger from the atrocious massacre.

Oren and his son. Courtesy: Oren.
Oren and his son. Courtesy: Oren.

The story about an Israeli father and his son who helped save hundreds of people on October 7 is one of many heroic tales from the “Black Sabbat”, as Hamas’ massacre is called in Israel. 

Like millions of Israelis on October 7, Oren and his family woke up to the sound of rocket sirens. But for Oren, who is a commander at the IDF’s Gaza division, he instantly knew something was off.

“I knew immediately that something was wrong so I told my wife and my children to go into the bomb shelter,” Oren told Jewish News in an interview.

Oren’s first thought was to drive to the IDF’s Gaza division not far from his kibbutz on the Gaza border, and to bring his son with him.

“When we left our kibbutz, which is only 4km from the Gasa border, we came under heavy fire on the highway. The bullets were flying over us. I knew that the terrorists were here. They were already in the kibbutzim. So I sped up, and when we passed Kibbutz Be’eri, where we came under fire again. I signalled to anyone who drove in the opposite direction, they should turn around immediately,” Oren said.

When they passed the Nova music festical and saw young people trying to find shelter from the rocket barrage, Oren and his son decided to stay instead of driving to the IDF’s division.

Civilians hiding behind the line of defence put up by Oren near the Nova music festical. Courtesy: Oren

“I parked the car and started shouting to people that they needed to leave everything behind, leave their cars and run through the fields. Then we started hearing gunshots and I knew the terrorists had arrived. And we began seeing some of the young people who had been injured and were running towards us,” Oren said.

As the situation began spiralling out of control, two policemen who had been stationed at the music festival joined Oren and his son who had begun setting up a line of defence just outside the festival.

“We formed a small defence barrier together. I called my division and told them to send help as soon as possible. The minute we saw the terrorists coming at us we started shooting at them and they began firing RPG rockets at us and the cars nearby. I saw them coming closer and began praying,” he said.

As Oren, his son and the two officers were under heavy fire from numerous terrorists appearing from all sides, an Israeli tank appeared out of the blue.

“I se terrorists start shooting RPG’s at the tank, but their focus is also to  go from car to car and systematically kill anyone who might be hiding in there. I jumped on the tank but couldn’t understand where the crew was. There was just one guy. Earlier in my career I was in the IDF’s tank unit, so I decided to help him,” Oren said.

One of the terrorists killed by Oren and his team near the Nova music festival. Courtesy: Oren

They decided to use the tank as a human shield and form a base where injured civilians could hide while Oren and the other security officials defended them against terrorists.

Oren described how “waves of terrorists come at us. We were under heavy fire non-stop. We were like this for hours. At one point I saw a group of five terrorist coming from the fields, with vests and gear. We shot and killed two of them up close and three of them from afar.”

“I told the police officers to grab the terrorists Kalashnikovs after we killed them. One of them had a suicide vest so i told the officer to leave him so it wouldn’t explode,” he added.

Oren said he turned in to a “war machine” as he was fighting against all odds, while relying on his vast experience as a soldier, fighting in both Gaza and Lebanon.

“I didn’t think about me or my life – I was like a war machine. Thats how we operate in war. I had a few moments on the road when I thought I was not going to make it. But my son has a baby, so I told him not to be a hero. And we prayed,” he said.

When an IDF unit showed up at the scene, Oren and his team decided to begin evacuating wounded civilians in the cars that had still not been destroyed by Hamas.

As they began evacuating people, Oren spotted four seemingly unarmed Palestinians.

“At first, I thought they might have been workers from Gaza. So I told the officers to check if they spoke Hebrew or had Israeli ID, and if not, to tie them until we could find out who they were,” he said.


It turned out the four Palestinians were among the many civilians from Gaza who decided to join Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorists on October 7.

After hours of constant fighting, Oren and his “team” were finally supported by an IDF division that came to their rescue. He decided to leave the music festival and drive to his army division base to help defending it from terrorist attacks.

“We saw many bodies on the road as we drove to the division. I called my wife and told her it was serious. Earlier I had sent her a text telling her to pray for everyone.”

It was only much later that his family found out where he and his son had actually been: “They thought we were at the army base. They didn’t know what we did. And I told my son not to tell his family what we had gone through.”

Oren said the harrowing experience with his son was surreal, but that he believes they will come out of it stronger. And so will Israel.

“I am positive that we will overcome this. And we will emerge even stronger.”

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