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Like thousands of others, four best friends from Even Yehuda thought they'd be joining the party of the year. They were 23 years old, post-army service, and had begun planning their futures. They loved, they had fun, they lived and breathed the sea and the waves, they traveled, and most of all, they did all that together, always. So of course, they would be driving to the Nova Music Festival at Re’im together with some other friends. 

Seven friends went to party. Three never came back.

On October 7 at 6:30 am, their world turned upside down. As sirens splintered the air, the group thought it was just another round of missiles, so they jumped into their cars aiming to reach one of the mobile shelters along the main road.


But the mobile shelters were packed with other partygoers who had fled. When they found an available mobile shelter, they left their cars, hoping to take cover from the missiles. Sela and Matan noticed someone on the ground injured by shrapnel and decided to help him, but a group of terrorists opened fire on them. Not wanting to lead the terrorists to the mobile shelter, they stayed outside and were both shot. Matan was murdered and Sela critically injured.


Sela managed to get into a car being driven away from the terrorists as they shot at it, and then sheltered in a field until he could be evacuated.


Ilay, Addir and their three female friends were still in the mobile shelter and had no idea of their friends’ fate. Suddenly, a terrorist reached the shelter. Ilay and Addir hid the girls under a pile of trash inside, and in a burst of unfathomable heroism, charged the terrorist with nothing but their bare hands, shoving him forcefully out of the shelter. They were shot dead on the spot. But their actions saved Romi, Yuval, and Yuli, because the terrorists assumed no one else was in the shelter. 


Hours later, Sela was taken to a hospital and underwent several surgeries. He now has a long rehabilitative path ahead of him. The three young women were also evacuated but the formerly inseparable group which had lived their lives together to the fullest, is no longer as it was.


The heroism shown by Ilay, Matan and Addir z”l, and their friend Sela, is a manifestation of the fighting spirit, determination and sacrifice that the deepest friendships engender. Their willingness to take action to rescue others, even at the cost of their lives, is beyond admirable.

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Sela Maagan

Matan Eckstein z"l

Addir Mesika z"l

Ilay Nachman z"l

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