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Bravery can come to light in the most unexpected moments and in the most unexpected people. It comes to light when someone charges towards a danger, or when someone functions inspirationally under tremendous pressure. And sometimes it expresses itself in faith: faith in people, a place, a land and a country. That is the best way to describe Shomo Ron, 85, a founding member of Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

Shlomo lived on the kibbutz for 65 years. He and his wife, Hannah, raised their three children there. Shlomo was a regular guy, working the fields and keeping busy in the kibbutz’s metal workshop. He was a man of the earth, a Zionist through and through.

Nothing could break him. He never broke during the tough period of the 1950s when the kibbutz was first established. He never broke when the Palestinian Fedayeen insurgency invaded the kibbutz fields, aiming to cause damage to the western Negev’s agriculture. Nor did he break during the Six Day War, when he defended the kibbutz against the Egyptian army. And his spirit never broke during rounds of battles in Gaza, and under the threat of missiles and tunnels. 

For all those years, Shlomo clung to his home, and to the land and kibbutz he loved so much, and never gave up faith that one day peace would come. Nor did Shlomo’s spirit break that fateful morning of October 7, when the sirens wailed continuously, and terrorists surrounded his house. That morning, his wife, two daughters and a grandson went into the home’s protective space. But Shlomo went out into the living room, where the terrorists found him. First, the terrorists riddled the house with gunshots from the outside, then they went inside and murdered Shlomo in cold blood. Other terrorists entering the house saw his bloodied lifeless body, presumed him to be an old, childless man living alone, and never searched for anyone else. That is how Shlomo’s family, hiding in the safe room, survived the horrors.

Shlomo’s stunning courage typifies Israel’s foundational generation. Stoic when facing seemingly insurmountable difficulties over dozens of years, determined when facing decades of threats, and finding ways to beat them, Shlomo loved his kibbutz, loved his family, and loved his Hannah’leh, and was willing to give his life to protect them.

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