I was born in Kibbutz Be’eri in 1976, a third-generation member of the kibbutz, and grew up at a time when the kibbutz was still a shared accommodation. 

Be’eri is a cooperative kibbutz, so all members earn the same salary, and all services are shared (laundry, dining room, education systems, etc.).

Be’eri Print is the main source of income for the members of the kibbutz. As the CEO, I bear a heavy responsibility — to ensure the livelihood of 1,100 of our community members. To achieve that I am required, together with the members of the management, to constantly think of new ways to innovate at any given time, to expand our activity.

On October 7th, my wife and three children and I stayed for 18 hours in the “safe room.” We had phone calls with our friends and extended family throughout the day. I talked to my mother for two and a half hours, and I heard from her how the house was set on fire. I heard the terrorists entering her home and ordering her to bring them money, I heard as they removed the jewelry from her body and unfortunately I also heard how she was dragged out of her home.

Until we were rescued from the safe room — and long after — we did not understand what happened to her or to our friends and the rest of the family.

We have a very strong community, which makes great efforts to stay united despite the difficulty of maintaining a divided community, dispersed right now in different locations. 

“I bear a heavy responsibility — to ensure the livelihood of 1,100 of our community members.”

The kibbutz administration works to preserve this unity and take care of members who have been harmed in varying degrees — loss of loved ones, physical and mental injuries, and significant property damage. We are working with the authorities and the state so that we can take care of all our members.

Our focus at this stage is to maintain our community until we move to a temporary settlement and of course, on the return of as many members as possible to Be’eri, when it is made possible.

We can contribute to our mutual resilience, in our community and in the country, by realizing that the worst is behind us and going back to life. Returning to Be’eri, for example, will allow us to heal, and begin to let go of the pain, so we can build a new future. There will be time to deal with everything later on.

Ben Sochman, CEO of Be’eri Print. Photo via LinkedIn
Ben Sochman, CEO of Be’eri Print. Photo via LinkedIn

I find inspiration and motivation in 19-year-old soldiers who risk their lives for me and for this country, who choose to live here and fight. 

Before October 7th, we faced small challenges, things like how to maintain a cooperative community on a kibbutz, to innovate in our business thinking and just our daily routines. After October 7th, at the end of the initial events, our first challenge was to find some way to reopen Be’eri Print as quickly as possible, while we all attended funerals and kept receiving notifications about the deaths of our loved ones.

I believe our very decision to reopen was a true show of resilience, only one week after that Black Shabbat, which sends a significant message to the members of the kibbutz, our workers in the factory, and also to the residents of the Western Negev and the entire State of Israel.

We have a country to rebuild now. I wish that we will be able to return to raising our children in Be’eri, to maintain a healthy routine, and never have to deal with such an event happening again, anywhere in Israel.