Hundreds of soldiers waited outside Be’eri with terrorists still inside, survivor says

Yair Avital, a member of the kibbutz’s civilian security squad, who fought down to their last bullets, offers harrowing testimony of October 7 ordeal

2 November 2023, 12:28 pm

Members of the tactical unit of the Yamas patrol in Kibbutz Be’eri, near the Israeli-Gaza border, southern Israel, on October 22, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Israel Defense Forces troops refused to engage terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7 and left members of the kibbutz to fight them off alone, amember of the community’s civilian security team recounted.

“The thing I remember the most, and the most traumatizing thing for me from this ordeal, was [being evacuated after hours of fighting and] arriving at the entrance to the kibbutz and seeing 500 soldiers stationed in an organized and orderly manner, standing and looking at us,” Yair Avital, one of the surviving members of the kibbutz’s security team, told Channel 12 in a segment aired on Wednesday, referring to the situation at 6.30 on the evening of the massacre.

Be’eri was one of the hardest-hit communities on that Saturday. More than 10 percent of its 1,200 residents were wiped out when some 3,000 Hamas terrorists stormed across the Gaza border into Israel, killing 1,400 people in southern towns, army bases and at a music festival, injuring more than 5,400 and taking at least 240 hostages.

Speaking to Channel 12 from the charred remains of the kibbutz, Avital and other surviving members of the security team recounted their ordeal and the way they say they were abandoned by the IDF.

By 7:30 a.m., less than an hour after the terrorists entered the kibbutz through its main entrance and through holes in the fence, two members of the security team were dead and another three were wounded, Avital recalled.

It was at that point that five police officers arrived at the scene for the first time, each with nothing more than a handgun. Realizing that they were ill-equipped, they withdrew to get more weapons. But as the scenes from Be’eri repeated themselves across the Gaza border communities, they were reassigned to other locations and didn’t return.

“You see it with your own eyes, you see terrorists pouring into the kibbutz. Truck after truck driving in here, probably under the influence of drugs,” survivor Elam Maor said. “They were an army with endless ammunition.”

At 9 a.m., a first team of IDF soldiers arrived at the kibbutz, more than two hours after the first terrorists broke through the entrance gate. But the soldiers, a 14-member team from the elite Shaldag unit, were quickly overwhelmed and retreated back to the kibbutz entrance.<

On Wednesday, walking through the dental clinic where medics treated the wounded and the security team fought until their bullets ran out on October 7, Avital told Channel 12 what he saw there that morning,

“At this point, Shahar and Eitan [from the security team] are fighting and we feel like we’re winning,” he recounted. “Every one of them who passed by, the guys here killed.”

Yair Avital, a member of the Kibbutz Be’eri civilian security team, returns home on November 1, 2023, for the first time since the Hamas massacre on October 7. (Channel 12 screenshot used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)<

But outside the clinic, fighting raged on, and the depleted security team continued to plead with the IDF for fighter planes and reinforcements.

It wasn’t until 1 p.m. that a squad of Shaldag soldiers returned, this time accompanied by a team from the elite Sayeret Matkal unit.

“They managed to make an impact for the first time; they were finally the force that managed to turn the tables a bit in the areas where they were positioned,” security team member Yuval Weiss said.

By 2 p.m., the feeling inside the clinic had changed. As fighting raged outside, a team of Hamas terrorists surrounded them, and the pilot of a fighter helicopter informed the team that he didn’t have permission to fire inside the kibbutz.

“At least eight grenades exploded in here and our ammunition had already run out,” Avital said as he walked through the decimated, bloodstained clinic.<

“Shahar shouts at the terrorists in English, ‘I’m not your enemy, please, I’m not your enemy,’” he continues. “Another grenade is thrown, and Shahar is no longer with us.”

Trapped in the clinic and surrounded by bodies and his own blood, Avital played dead, holding his breath as the terrorists examined each body and executed anyone they thought might still be alive.

At 6:30 p.m., IDF troops finally arrived at the clinic, where Avital and the kibbutz nurse, Nirit, were the only survivors.

As he was evacuated from the kibbutz on a stretcher, Avital realized that he could no longer place his faith in the military, he told Channel 12.

“Five hundred IDF soldiers were outside, organized, with dogs, with equipment, weapons, and armored vehicles; they were standing outside and not a single one of them is doing anything,” he said.

“I remember shouting at them from the stretcher, ‘They’re slaughtering us! Go in! Save us!’ and none of them looked at me, none of them said anything.

“They kept repeating, ‘The field isn’t sterile, the field isn’t sterile,’” he continued, explaining that the insistence that the area needed to be “sterile” before soldiers could go in was a sign that none of them understood what was happening inside the kibbutz.

“No one understood that the well-known and familiar combat doctrine of the Israel Defense Forces no longer exists,” Avital said. “People here were losing blood every minute, and the army was out there, and didn’t understand what was happening, and it broke my heart.”

The destruction caused by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 14, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

It took the IDF two days to complete the evacuation of Kibbutz Be’eri and to ensure that no terrorists remained. Prior to the October 7 massacre, the kibbutz was the largest community of the 25 that make up the Eshkol Regional Council.

In the days following the massacre, 108 bodies were retrieved from the kibbutz, and dozens of people were determined to have been taken to Gaza as hostages.

Multiple scenes of atrocities were recorded by the invading terrorists in Be’eri that day, including scenes of civilians begging for mercy as they were executed and of mutilated families being burned alive inside their homes.

The kibbutz, whose establishment predates that of the State of Israel by two years,  has emerged as a symbol of the attack because of its size, and the scale and level of documentation of the killings perpetrated there.

Almost a month has passed since October 7, and Avital still can’t sleep, he told Channel 12 as he sat with the other survivors of his once-strong civilian security team.

“As soon as you close your eyes, so many things appear,” he said. “There’s no bush and no rock that I don’t imagine, what if had gone this way or maybe that way, we could have changed things and maybe saved another family.”

Canaan Lidor contributed to this report.

November 3, 2023 | 13 Comments »

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13 Comments / 13 Comments

  1. Remember when Mayor Bloomberg established an Arabic language public charter school but had to fire the principal for letting the students wear tee shirts that read, “Intifada NYC” and she sued the city for millions and won?!!!!!

  2. Hi, Sebastien

    You’re the only one here who doesn’t merit the Blind Dodo Award.

    @Michael Yes, how many times have the police refused to go in or delayed, here and there, but Ben-Gvir, the voice of sanity, is a second amendment guy.

    I don’t want to even try to find fault with Ben-Gvir or other officials in Israel. I have my hands full with the “Defund the Police” movement, with “sanctuary cities”, and with cowards in stetsons:

    Edgar, there’s a book that you appear completely unfamiliar with — spelled, in English, B I B L E. aka Torah, etc. Check it out sometime. You migtht learn something,

  3. Michael-

    At last you’ve posted something interesting for salacious and prurient eyes. we’re all impatiently waiting……….for the REST of the story. Paul Harvey redivivus.

    My memory tells me that it’s just a fable of long long ago, but I can’t recall much except that it never happened. Isn’t that where an army destroyed the Tribe of Benjamin or something like that.

    But.. please tell us about the Levite’s comcubine………??

  4. @Michael Yes, how many times have the police refused to go in or delayed, here and there, but Ben-Gvir, the voice of sanity, is a second amendment guy.

  5. “Five hundred IDF soldiers were outside, organized, with dogs, with equipment, weapons, and armored vehicles; they were standing outside and not a single one of them is doing anything.” This terrible fact, one of so many, shows how much the Israeli army is weakened. Enemies of Israel are doing everything to divide the society. There is treason in the army leadership. It is much worse than Hamas. In his brilliant article “Who is the enemy” Moshe Feiglin is discussing who the real enemy is.

  6. FelixQuigley: There was no ” removal of elected leader in Ukraine coup of 2014″. There was no coup, there was at first a peaceful rally to express disagreement with what President Viktor Yanukovych was doing – violating his promise not to make the country a vassal of Russia. Of course, Russia, and surprisingly the USA did not like it and interfered. The peaceful rally transformed into violent clashes. Yanukovych fled the country on the Russian plane. There was no “removal”, he himself abandoned he duties.

  7. Michael

    I make a polite request to you. What are you talking about? I have no idea.

    This is happening all over the US — innocent civilians being left to cruelty and death at the hands of deranged creatures. It’s like the Levite’s concubine, in the book of Judges.

    Do you mean the Left Fascist Antisemites in the Universities?

    Do you mean the attacks on the Capital Participants

    It can be so many things

    Vagueness is bad

    As regards the chaos in the state stated above…the personalising of issues around Netanyahu was reactionary

    It was really a colour revolution aimed at replacing the elected leader

    Follow the current experience…the removal of elected leader in Ukraine coup of 2014 is what is most pertinent

  8. My Eastern European suspicion tells me that a certain political fraction, in its quest to remove Netanyahu from power, may have deliberately withheld critical information from the Prime Minister regarding an imminent crisis. Their motive is simple. If the hostages are tragically killed, the country would pin the blame on him, forcing his resignation. Alternatively, if Netanyahu manages to secure the hostages successfully, those responsible for not averting the disaster might face legal repercussions. They would go to great lengths to ensure the operation’s failure. That may explain the IDF’s inaction in the first hours of the Hamas attack. I think we have seen nothing yet.

  9. This is happening all over the US — innocent civilians being left to cruelty and death at the hands of deranged creatures. It’s like the Levite’s concubine, in the book of Judges.

  10. The words of Professor Miliukov , a member of Russia’s moribund and powerless Duma in the last few months of the Russian monarchy, keeps ringing in my ears: “is this stupidity or is this treason?” The parallels between Russia in the last days of Nicholas and Alexander’s rule are striking. They had one Rasputin; we have thousands of Rasputins: the 850 members of the Bar Association and its appointees in the courts, the Attorney General’s office, the public prosecutors’ offices, in every police force , in every branch of the civil service, and in the senior ranks of the military. The tsar’s army eventually collapsed because of the lack of supplies for the soldiers and the incompetence of most of the officer corps; our military has collapsed because its senior leaders have lost the desire to defend their country, and only wanted to defend the ruling class against the electorate and its freely elected legislators.

  11. Truly appalling. Large numbers of troops just waiting, doing nothing. while the kibbutzniks were being slaughtered. And what was this “sterile” business? And helicoptors not being given to intervene:? I guess the entire military :leadership” was so obsessed with persecuting Bibi and Levin that they had a really tough time switching gears and realizing that Israel was facing a real enemy and a real attack, not the imaginary one supposedly posed by Israel’s elected government and Prime Minister.