"They Came to Massacre"

Ezer MiZion activist: "They didn't come to kill us, they came to massacre"

Zeev Freund descended to the Gaza envelope with a ZAKA team in order to collect the casualties in the south, and he shared his difficult experience in an interview: "I saw very difficult and painful things, this is the saddest day of my life"

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Zeev Freund, an Ezer MiZion activist, joined together with a number of activists to the ZAKA organization and went down to the location of the party in Re'im to locate the fallen. In an interview, he described the difficult experience in the area that was attacked by Hamas.

"Yesterday (Sunday) in the morning hours, we arrived in collaboration between Ezer MiZion and ZAKA with six large vehicles, ambulances, and a truck, and we headed to the Gaza envelope, to an area that was still under fire," Freund explained. "Our mission was to scan the area and collect the casualties."

Freund described that the group arrived at the scene in Re'im, saying, "The area looked like a war zone, with hundreds of shot, burnt, and wrecked vehicles, including abandoned vehicles with Palestinian license plates and the bodies of terrorists. Our mission was to locate the fallen Israelis who were in the area and in shelters."

"You collect another and another and it never ends"

At this point, Freund took a deep breath and said with trembling, "I saw very difficult and painful things. It's the saddest day of my life. People of different ages, very young, and you collect one, and another, and another, and you don't see it ending."

He further described how they cared for the fallen, saying, "We treated them with sensitivity and respect while reciting Psalms and shedding tears. We thought about the families of each one, about their circles of friends. It's unimaginable; each one has a circle of countless friends around them. The pain will last a lifetime."

In response to a question about the condition of the fallen, Freund replied, "I'll say it gently, they didn't come to kill us - they came to slaughter us."

Freund receives countless requests regarding relatives with whom contact has not been established, and he sadly replies that he is not qualified to confirm or deny their status. At the same time, he receives hundreds of thousands of offers to help: "People want to assist, to help in whatever way they can. We receive phone calls all the time. We work around the clock. Since this morning, I haven't even had a chance to sit down for coffee. I come home exhausted and immediately head out again because I know I'm needed."

Zaka and Ezer MiZion activists hiding during the evacuation of the fallen

"You don't ask questions, in situations like this you just stay silent and go through it together"

Freund described how over the past year, he has encountered many difficult cases at Ezer MiZion in his role in the cancer patient support system: "I meet people going through various decrees from heaven and have learned not to ask questions. There are situations where you just sit in silence with sorrow and pain," he noted. "It's a moment where you don't ask questions; you give from your strength as much as you can, and, most importantly, you go through it together."

Furthermore, he explained that he arrived during the second round of the collection. Prior to that, there was an earlier collection. In the second round they gathered all of the fallen. Afterward, the group reached the entrances of the communities in the surrounding area and collected the fallen while they were hiding from Hamas bombings. This morning, another team entered Kibbutz Be'eri. On their way there, they transported hundreds of soldiers to assembly points.

In Ezer MiZion, they operate in several fields:

  1. A mental health counseling center for anxiety victims.
  2. "Connected to Life" project, which transports patients and elderly individuals throughout the country to their necessary destinations.
  3. A project for delivering medications to patients and the elderly.
  4. Cafeterias across the country for soldiers and individuals staying alongside their loved ones in hospitals.
  5. A project for absorbing residents of the South and additional assistance programs.

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