Israeli President Isaac Herzog paid tribute on Sunday to the more than 100 residents of Kibbutz Be’eri who were murdered by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, as he inscribed a letter in a Torah scroll that will be used in the community’s rebuilt synagogue.
Herzog dedicated the scroll “to all those slaughtered in Your holy name, the defenders of the land who stood up as heroes to fight against the evil terrorists who came to destroy us on the day of the joy of our Torah.”
“I am very excited to fulfill this huge mitzvah [commandment], to write a letter in the Torah scroll in memory of Elhanan Kalmanson, may God avenge his blood,” the president said.
Hamas’s attacks on Oct. 7 coincided with the most joyous festival of the Jewish calendar—Simchat Torah, when Jews around the world celebrate the completion of the annual Torah reading cycle.
Capt. (res.) Elhanan Meir Kalmanson, 41, from the Judea community of Otniel, is credited with saving dozens of lives in Be’eri, including pregnant women and the elderly, before being killed by a Hamas terrorist.
Rachel Fricker, a survivor of the attack on Be’eri, said during the ceremony of the defenders of Be’eri, “Their bravery forged an unbreakable bond. Words fail to capture their heroism—rescuing over a hundred people. Elhanan’s voice and unwavering confidence still resonate within me.”
At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on Israeli communities near the Gaza border. Another approximately 240 men, women and children were taken back to the Strip as hostages.
An estimated 10% of Kibbutz Be’eri’s 1,100 residents were killed and an equal number were kidnapped during the attacks.