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Israeli police academy displays armored vehicles destroyed on Oct. 7

“It brings me right back to the hours of that horrible day,” an Israeli police commander told JNS.

Shlomi Chetrit, superintendent and head of research at the Israel Police, at a display at an Israeli police academy of charred armored vehicles that were destroyed on Oct. 7, on May 12, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.
Shlomi Chetrit, superintendent and head of research at the Israel Police, at a display at an Israeli police academy of charred armored vehicles that were destroyed on Oct. 7, on May 12, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

The Israeli police commander inspected the twisted pieces of metal and shards of broken glass in the two charred armored vehicles.

“It is like an arrow to the heart,” Eyal Reon, head of the Israel Police Operations Unit, told JNS at the Israeli police academy in the central Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. “It brings me right back to the hours of that horrible day.”

The demolished vehicles, which police officers used to try to repel the Hamas attack on a borderline Israeli kibbutz during the Oct. 7 massacre, arrived at the police academy on Sunday, ahead of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Memorial Day.

Some of the hundreds of Hamas terrorists, who burst into Kibbutz Be’eri on Oct. 7, shot the armored vehicles with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades, killing nine of the 10 people who were inside the vehicles. That included eight police officers and a kibbutz member.

The bodies in the vehicles were so badly destroyed that they could not be identified initially, according to Nadav Salame, the deputy commander of the Israel Police unit who was charged with overseeing the force as it went into the kibbutz.

In 33 years on the police force, including 18 in the police’s national enforcement unit, Salame had never seen anything like what he saw on Oct. 7.

“This brings me back to the images of that day,” he told JNS. “Each time you get another blow. It is hard to grasp the enormity of the loss.”

When the police team moved into the kibbutz around lunchtime that day, it had no idea of the extent of what awaited it. It was among the first forces to enter the hard-hit agricultural community, located less than a mile from the Gaza Strip.

Eyal Reon
Eyal Reon, head of the Israel Police Operations Unit, inspects twisted pieces of metal and shards of broken glass in charred armored vehicles that were destroyed on Oct. 7, on May 12, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

After coming under intense fire, the driver of the squad leader in one of the vehicles—the lone survivor—managed to radio that the vehicles had been hit and sent their location inside the kibbutz. Then the driver lost consciousness.

Seven months later, questions swirl in their direct commander’s mind about what would have happened if more forces entered together as one.

The exhibition of the vehicles doesn’t close the circle, the police commanders said. It does highlight heroism and bravery.

“We are continuing in their path by telling their heroic stories—that even though they were few against man, they entered to save the lives of the members of the kibbutz,” Reon said.

Some 60 Israel Police officers were killed on Oct. 7—5% of the 1,200 people, mostly civilians, who were murdered that day.

Nadav Salame
Nadav Salame, deputy commander of the Israel Police Operations Unit, at a display of charred armored vehicles that were destroyed on Oct. 7 at an Israeli police academy, May 12, 2024. Credit: Courtesy.

The armored vehicles are the latest to testify to Israel’s past battles. Others from the 1948 War of Independence line the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.

“Our task is to preserve the stories of heroism and dedication of our fallen officer and comrades,” according to Israel Police chief Shlomi Chetrit, who heads the history and heritage branch.

“These vehicles symbolize heroism,” Chetrit told JNS. “Their dedication to saving lives and comradeship.”

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