Dr. Yftach Gepner, a lecturer at TAU’s Faculty of Medicine from Moshav Ein Habesor, saved his own brother’s life on that fateful morning of October 7, when they fought terrorists along with the other 78 members of the small, remote community’s alertness unit.

The moshav had decided to establish this unit only a month earlier, mostly to prevent car theft. They were unaware at the time that in only a few weeks, this choice would mean the difference between life and death.

Normally, five members would patrol at night, following a year of repeated car thefts, to stop such events and boost the sense of personal security for residents. 

On Saturday, as sirens and bombs started pouring in from Gaza, the security coordinator of the moshav quickly decided to send the entire standby squad to the fences. Within minutes, several Hamas vehicles appeared, and a long, harsh battle commenced.

“Even though they had the upper hand as far as firearms,” Gepner told Ma’ariv, “our squad faced the Hamas terrorists’ attack, and was finally able to stop them.”  

During the intense fighting, Gepner’s brother Elad was severely injured. The physician, whose study about exercise and cancer was previously published on ISRAEL21c, gave his wounded sibling first aid but clearly he required hospital care. 

He then tried to sneak Elad out the back gate of the moshav, but they came upon “a huge force of Hamas terrorists, including two pickup trucks and five motorcycles — around 30 terrorists in total.”

The brothers were attacked, Elad suffering additional wounds from gunshots and shrapnel. Gepner managed to drive back to the moshav. Two hours later, his brother finally arrived at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva in an ambulance accompanied by another vehicle to protect it. Despite having lost a great amount of blood on the way, Elad pulled through.

“We are at the apex of a mega-event which tests the very existence of the otef [Gaza ‘envelope’] kibbutzim, as well as Israel’s existence at large,” Gepner said. 
“As we rose from the Holocaust to independence, as we grew out of the ’73 Yom Kippur war… we will rebuild the otef settlements, safer without Hamas, stronger and thriving.”