Freedom & Liberation
Nir Am, a kibbutz that sits right up against the northern border of Gaza, was one of the few places that was not infiltrated during the horrific attacks on October 7th. This was due in a large part to the swift and brave actions of the kibbutz’s security coordinator, Inbal Rabin-Liebarman, who has become nearly a household name in Israel due to the hope that her story brings.
הסיפור של קיבוץ ניר עם והרבש"צית הצעירה ענבל רבין-ליברמן כבר תפס מעמד מיתי בתוך כל הסיפורים של אותו יום נורא. בכתבה זו אפשר להתעמק בסיפור ולשמוע כיצד היא מונתה לתפקיד וגם את רגע החזרה שלה למקום האירוע בפעם הראשונה. בחנוכה אנו חוגגים את ניצחון המכבים, וקיבוץ ניר עם מהווה קרן אור של ניצחון בין כל הסיפורים הקשים של המלחמה.
Inbal’s story of becoming the youngest security coordinator of the kibbutz, at the age of 26, in addition to being the first woman to hold the position, is amazing in light of the events that followed. The video is in Hebrew and is summarized in this paragraph, but even if you don’t understand the words, feel free to watch a bit of it to see the casual and humble way Inbal speaks of the day’s events and her own bravery. The interviewer asks about the process for being chosen as security coordinator. He wonders, “Did anyone say that this isn’t a job for a woman?” and Inbal answers, in her straightforward way, “Not to my face. But I know people said it. And… it isn’t a job for a woman! Certainly not for a girl. But that’s what gives me the power.” She was appointed anyway, since she had just finished her military service in the Oketz combat unit that operates with specially trained dogs, and had come back to live at the kibbutz (with her dog, of course, who is still with her in the video). She and the reporter travel back to Nir Am, her first time being there since the day of the attack. As she walks through the events of the day, she remembers seeing the kibbutz’s operations guy walking outside just as the attack had started, and he said he was going to turn on the generator, since the power was out and people were in their safe rooms without electricity. She told him he has to stay with her, and he can’t turn on the generator. “I realized at that point that the power being out was what was keeping us safe. Because the gates were closed. And with no power coming to them, there’s no way they will open.” Later, she would learn that a van of terrorists had indeed come to the front gate, and had moved on, since they couldn’t get in.
The back of the kibbutz was where the real battle took place. In a chicken shed just outside of the kibbutz’s rear fence, dozens of terrorists hid out and attempted to launch an attack on the residents. Inbal’s small quick-response team of 12 kibbutz members, at her direction, spread out and fended off the terrorists for hours, until a few different teams of soldiers arrived and endangered their lives trying to get close enough to the shed and stop the terrorists. Two soldiers fell in that specific battle, and in what feels like a miracle, the kibbutz residents were unharmed, later taken to a hotel in what must have been for them the greatest moment of liberation.
Note: This video contains descriptions of violence, though no specific acts are discussed. The second half of the video contains some helmet-cam footage from the battle, though no very difficult moments are shown.
We didn’t know for sure, we couldn’t be 100% certain, that there wasn’t a terrorist inside the Kibbutz.
How far would you go to protect your own freedom in a certain area of your life?
חשבו על סוג ספציפי של חופש שקיים לכם בחיים. כמה רחוק היית מוכן ללכת כדי לשמר אותו?
In what ways do you celebrate and appreciate the freedoms that you enjoy?
באילו דרכים את/ה מציין או חוגג את החופש הקיים בחייך?
In moments of difficulty, what actions or choices allowed you to break free from limitations, leading to a sense of liberation in your life?
ברגעים קשים, איזה מעשים עזרו לך להשתחרר ממגבלות ולהביא לתחושה של חופש בחיים?
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