Eyal young of kibbutz Alumim and Haim Yusonov, a member of kibbutz Zikim, both fighters in their kibbutz emergency squads, were injured in battle while defending their homes on the morning of Saturday, October 7th. Now, from their beds at Reuth TLV Rehabilitation, they recount the battle, and can still not fully process the experience.
“We had no idea what kind of scenario we were getting into and that what we were facing was literally a fight for our home”, recounts Eyal, 36, a married father of four from kibbutz Alumim and the most severely wounded among the 12 emergency squad fighters who survived the attack. “70 terrorists infiltrated our kibbutz. We fought tenaciously for hours and managed to force them into a corner of the kibbutz until the IDF arrived. We were alone in combat. I was hit by a bullet in my shoulder, my entire upper back is shattered, shattered ribs, a punctured lung. I also have shrapnel in my body. Mobility in my right arm is very limited, I have trouble breathing, my body’s exhausted”.
Haim, 35, married with two daughters, grabbed his gear and rifle as soon as rockets aimed at Zikim were launched. “On my way to the fields, I realized there was an encounter with terrorists near the kibbutz and I saw a terrorist vehicle outside the kibbutz and one of ours engaged in a gun fight with them. It took us time to grasp the extent of the event. Bullets shrieking above our heads, grenades. I was wounded by a grenade a terrorist threw and, together with a wounded friend, crawled backward. It was only then, when crawling, wounded, and bleeding, that I first came to comprehend what we were facing. I knew that if they threw another grenade at me, there was no chance I’d live. There was also the constant fear for my wife and girls. I gradually lost feeling in my leg and was afraid I’d lose it. I have an injured nerve in my left leg, the inner bone is broken, and there is shrapnel. There was fear, but the body functions automatically in a cold sort of way. Our emergency squad continued to fight until 2 o’clock in the morning, warding off terrorists”.
“We had a good life in Zikim,” Haim adds. “We loved every minute in the kibbutz. We fought for our home. I want very much to go back there, to see what happened. I owe myself that”.
Eyal: “Even now, I say: Return home! As citizens we are no different than those in other regions in the country and the entire Gaza envelope defended the entire state with their bodies. If we hadn’t stopped them, they would have gone on, also to Tel Aviv. Our children deserve to grow up in peace. My biggest dream now is to pick up my children, to work out, because that’s how I’ll feel that I am getting back to myself, physically and mentally. Here, at Reuth, I feel great, they’re treating me the best they can and take care of me. I believe that in the end we’ll come out of this stronger and more united”.