Nov 29, 2023
Nov 29, 2023
Rotem, an Israeli American teenager lived near the Gaza border with his family. In a siege by Hamas attackers, his parents were killed. As the fighters invaded their home, they scrambled into a tiny room meant to protect them from rocket attacks.
Shlomi Mathias had his arm blown off trying to keep the fighters out. The assailants peppered the room with gunfire; Debbie Mathias was shot dead; the bullet traveled through her and hit Rotem in the stomach.
Rotem lay under her pretending to be dead. Mathias' other two daughters, 21-year-old Shir and 19-year-old Shakked, were hiding separately in their own safe rooms in the kibbutz.
"Don't open the door," Mom had messaged.
Rescued after over twelve hours, they recalled: "All we could hear were gunshots and people screaming and bombs going off, cars exploding,"
"It's like if you close your eyes, you might think you're in a movie theater. Then you open your eyes and realize I'm in my room. I'm in my house."
"We could hear missiles flying down. We could hear them whistle and explode. It was insane. I've never heard anything like this. It was terrifying."
The attack came hours after the family had gathered for a festive evening that included music, since both their parents were musicians.
The family returned to the kibbutz, and Shir Mathias remembers her mom telling her to have a good time Saturday, since they were planning to attend a Bruno Mars concert in Tel Aviv.
"Before I went to my house, Mom said, "Bye. Have fun tomorrow," Shir Mathias said. "I was like, 'Thank you, I love you"." I gave her a hug, and gave my dad a hug.
Hours later, they were gone.
Who is to blame for the plight of these hapless souls?