Authentic Voices | Everyday Heroes

EVERYDAY HEROES

Following the horrors of October 7, stories have begun to emerge of the heroism of everyday Israelis during the day itself and in the weeks following. Explore this selection of powerful stories of everyday Israelis stepping up to support people in their communities and across Israel in this time of crisis.

HOW TO USE THESE RESOURCES

As you explore these stories, we encourage you to use these questions and conversation prompts to spark discussion and engagement with your learners.

1. What’s one idea or perspective that is new to you?

2. If you could meet with one of these individuals, who would it be, and what would you ask?

3. After exploring a few stories, do you notice any commonalities?

4. What makes a hero?

This website is a compilation of images and stories of women who have performed heroic acts. Each story is accompanied by an image created by a female designer. The site accepts stories from the public and encourages the posting of images and stories.

Visit “Women: Heroines of the War” Website

January 8, 2024

Everyone is traumatized after October 7, but often it’s worse for children as they can’t articulate. Three organizations have set out to help.

Read “Helping Israel’s Grieving Children Recover” from Israel 21C

January 7, 2024

A thousand Israeli musicians came together in a moving performance at the amphitheater in Caesarea, to support the families of hostages in Gaza and call for the release of those remaining.

Read “1,000 Musicians Come Together for Israeli Hostages” from Israel 21C

January 1, 2024

After Thai farmworkers evacuated Israel following October 7, Filipino caregivers still in Israel unexpectedly answered the urgent call for agricultural volunteers.

Read “Filipino Caregivers Spend Saturdays Aiding Israeli Farms” from Israel 21C

December 25, 2023

The tiny 56-year-old grandmother, the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi from Chicago, is learning on the job while the shop’s owners are serving in reserves.

Read “Amid Gaza War, a Us-born Jewish Woman Mans a Christian Arab Town’s Bike Shop” from Times of Israel

December 24, 2023

Realizing that exhausted troops need more than food and supply deliveries, UK-born Tasha Cohen launched Chayal’s Angels, which has touched over 2,000 and counting.

Read “An Army of Volunteer Physical Therapists Treats Aching IDF Soldiers on the Front Lines ” from Times of Israel

December 23, 2023

Aya Jaber, 22, feared being ostracized after the Hamas atrocities, but the connection with her friends and flatmates in northern Israel, who also have disabilities, is unbroken by war.

Read “At Group Home in Nahariya, Bond Between Muslim and Jewish Young Adults Survives Oct. 7” from Times of Israel

November 8, 2023 | 9 min 55 sec

In the aftermath of October 7th, dozens of Israel’s leading wordsmiths—authors, poets, playwrights, bloggers, and journalists—volunteered to write eulogies for the 100+ members of Kibbutz Be’eri who were murdered. Among them was Agi Mishol, one of Israel’s most prominent, beloved and widely-read poets.

Listen to “Wartime Diaries: Agi Mishol,” from Israel Story

October 29, 2023 | 11 min 55 sec

Two days after the attacks, Tomer Oshri—a 48-year-old history teacher and principal from Jerusalem—called up the Israeli Ministry of Education and asked how he could help. They told him to pack a sleeping bag and head down to the Dead Sea. When he arrived, he began the work of setting up and operating 17 different makeshift schools for survivors and residents of the displaced Gaza border communities.

Listen to “Wartime Diaries: Tomer Oshri,” from Israel Story

October 24, 2023

At his own expense, Sami Alkarnawi provided free accommodation at his hotels in Mitzpe Ramon for evacuees from Gaza Strip border communities. In this interview, he discusses his decision. 

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues—a partner of The iCenter—has collected stories and resources about Arab citizens of Israel during and after the October 7 massacre. You can access this story and more here.

Read “Israeli Bedouin Hotelier Hosts 3,000 Displaced by Hamas War ” from I24 News

October 23, 2023

When Hamas attacked Israel, Yoni Heilman, the CEO of the TAMID Group and an American oleh (immigrant), joined hundreds of thousands of Israelis who were called up to reserve service in the IDF. Sapir will be publishing weekly updates for as long as Yoni continues to write.

Read “Diary of an IDF Soldier,” in the SAPIR Journal

October 23, 2023 | 14 min 52 sec

The beloved musician has given over 50 concerts since the start of the war—in hotel lobbies, army bases, bomb shelters, kibbutz lawns, and even at the brit of a baby from Kfar Aza.

Listen to “Wartime Diaries: David Broza,” from Israel Story

October 23, 2023

Adopt-A-Safta is working tirelessly to help combat isolation amongst the elderly in Israel, many of whom are Holocaust survivors. Their work is especially vital during this difficult time.

Read more about Adopt-A-Safta’s work, from Israel 21c

October 22, 2023 | 2 min 31 sec

In Jerusalem, thousands of volunteers are rising to the challenge of meeting the needs of displaced residents of the south, including providing clothes, medications, food, baby products, emotional support, and more.

Watch “The Volunteer Army” from The Times of Israel

October 19, 2023

Youssef Ziadna drove into the site of the Nova dance party while it was still under attack, filled his minivan to beyond capacity, and made an escape off-roading using his knowledge of the terrain. Ziadna is still dealing with the trauma of the experience.

Read about Youssef Ziadna’s story from JTA

October 19, 2023 | 16 min 24 sec

During this dark time, Israeli civil society has risen to the occasion. Hedai Offaim—a chef, farmer, and social entrepreneur—has transformed his café into a relief kitchen where 750 volunteers prepare more than 10,000 nutritious meals a day for evacuated communities, families in mourning, families of hostages, and reservists.

Listen to “Wartime Diaries: Hedai Offaim,” from Israel Story

October 14, 2023 | 13 min 16 sec

At age 50, Itai Kramer is no longer obligated to serve in the reserve forces, yet he volunteered anyway. Itai tells us about what went through his mind when he decided to drop everything and put on his uniform.

Listen to “Wartime Diaries: Itai Kramer,” from Israel Story

This compilation tells the stories of those who are making the lives of others better. 

Read “Those We Call Heroes” from Times of Israel

A compilation of stories detailing how ordinary citizens in Israel have responded to the current crisis with extraordinary acts of bravery and courage.

Read “The Everyday People Who Became Heroes” from Israel 21C

Asaf Doktor and Yotam Doktor, brothers and co-owners of a Tel Aviv restaurant appropriately named Ha’Achim (The Brothers), converted their restaurant into a central hub for for volunteers collecting, preparing, and distributing hot meals to soldiers and to families affected by the war.

Read “Keeping People Fed: Doktor Brothers” from Israel 21C

Despite the danger, animal activist Nora Lifshitz has repeatedly made the journey to Israel’s stricken south to rescue dogs, cats, turkeys, birds, goats and more.

Read “Animal Rescuer: Nora Lifshitz” from Israel 21C

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