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When she heard the sirens start blaring at 6:30 in the morning on October 7, Shir Azulay went out into the yard of her house in Kibbutz Holit to observe and photograph the rockets. But a short time later, she began to hear not only the sounds of the rocket firing but also gunfire. She saw people dressed in military uniforms shooting everywhere, and when she realized that they were not IDF soldiers but Hamas terrorists, she raced home and kept taking pictures from her window. 

When the gunfire subsided for a bit, Shir ran into her kitchen to arm himself with a knife. "I knew it wouldn't help me, but it strengthened my self-confidence," she said.

Shir locked herself back in the safe room with her dog, Bentzi, only armed with the knife. On her phone she saw a message on the Kibbutz WhatsApp group from her neighbor Miriam, who wrote that the terrorists had set her house on fire and she was in her own safe room, choking from the smoke and was asking for help. 


Suddenly the light in Shir’s safe room went out, and another neighbor called her to tell her that they were setting her house on fire and that she needed to leave immediately. Shir was faced with an impossible dilemma - leave the safe room and potentially meet the terrorists head-on, or stay inside and burn. With a moment's decision, she left the safe room, barefoot and armed with her knife, and ran to Miriam’s house. Still barefoot, Shir tried to enter Miriam’s house, but flames blocked her from entering the front door. She went to the window of Miriam’s safe room, broke the glass, and together with a neighbor removed the metal shield over the window and discovered Miriam passed out and blackened on the window sill. Shir poured a bucket of water on Miriam to try to wake her up; Miriam started responding. Shir put a wet towel on her, and called for more neighbors, and together they managed to get Miriam out of the safe room, just as the terrorists started shooting again. Shir, an unconscious Miriam, and other neighbors went into a safe room, and after 12 hours they were rescued.

Miriam survived thanks to Shir and the other members of the kibbutz, who, under the threat of the terrorists, still managed to saved the life of their neighbor.


Shir's story is a prime example of the Israeli and kibbutznik spirit and the idea of mutual responsibility for one another, showing courage and the embodiment of good neighborliness.

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