top of page


Residents of Kibbutz Holit just 2.6 kilometers from the Gaza border woke on the morning of October 7 to a barrage of missiles and sirens that shook much of Israel. Avital Alajem, a kibbutz resident, went into her home’s protected space but very soon afterwards heard shooting and shouts in Arabic. She realized that the worst possible scenario was playing out: terrorists had penetrated the kibbutz. Stressed residents maintained WhatsApp contact to stay updated. Avital, who was on her own, was joined by another resident, simply to be together while terror raged outside.

The whole time, Avital’s next-door neighbor, Adi Kaploun, was in her home with her two children, Negev, aged 4, and Eshel, the 15-week-old baby. Avital and Adi maintained contact until 11 am, when Adi sent her final message and no longer responded to Avital.

Seven hours after the attack began, terrorists reached Avital’s house. Avital and her neighbor hid in a closet but the terrorists blew the protected room’s door open, murdering Avital’s neighbor. They pulled Avital out of the closet, and suddenly brought Adi’s children Negev and Eshel into Avital’s home. The three of them were moved from house to house while terrorists continued their horrific acts until they decided to head back for Gaza, forcing Avital and the children to come with them.


Walking along, Avital was horrified at the carnage and destruction, the bloodshed, and her neighbors’ homes burnt to a cinder. Avital cared for the two youngsters and despite the extreme difficulty, she never lost her commonsense. Right before entering a settled area inside Gaza, the terrorists signaled to Avital, in what can only be described as a miracle, that she and the little ones were free to go.


Stunned, Avital overcame her exhaustion and made her way back to Israel, walking for hours, Eshel in one arm, and Negev, bearing a leg wound, in the other. The three of them were saved, but days later it was confirmed that Adi, their mother, had been cruelly murdered.

Avital’s story, in which she, Eshel and Negev survived, is an example of the neighborly dedication and devotion embodied in kibbutz life. Despite the incomprehensibly demanding situation, Avital did not relinquish the hope that she could keep her neighbor’s children alive and bring them to safe haven.

bottom of page