ICEJ-Donated Radios Saved Thousands of Israeli Lives on October 7
By: ICEJ Staff
“I took out my weapon and shouted on the radio … and thanks to this, no one was killed in Zikim, Yad Mordechai, and Karmia. Three thousand people were saved.” —Amnon Ziv, security chief for the Hof Ashkelon region
When waves of Hamas terrorists breached the border fence and slaughtered over 1,200 Israelis on October 7, four Israeli communities just north of Gaza managed to fend off the attackers and avoid the carnage that befell other nearby farming villages. According to Amnon Ziv, security chief for the Hof Ashkelon region, special communication equipment donated last year by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem helped save the lives of over 3,000 local residents under his watch during the widespread massacre that day.
Amnon lives in Netiv HaAsara, the Israeli village closest to the Erez Crossing, which was penetrated by hundreds of armed Hamas militiamen on the morning of Simchat Torah. He quickly assessed the gravity of this threat and used the radio devices provided by ICEJ to send a simultaneous alert to all the standby squads in his kibbutz as well as those in Yad Mordechai, Zikim, and Karmia. This allowed all four communities to rapidly organize and fight off the terrorists at their gates and perimeters fences. Their swift and courageous actions prevented the Hamas gunmen from entering the kibbutzim and massacring their residents. As a result, these communities did not suffer the same tragic fate as Kfar Aza, Kibbutz Be’eri, and many Israeli villages in the Gaza border area.
On the day of the massacre, Amnon instantly realized Israel was being invaded from Gaza, so he grabbed his weapons to protect the kibbutz, and at the same time, sent an alert on the special walkie-talkies to the other security coordinators in the Hof Ashkelon region. Thanks to his warning message, the standby units also had just enough time to organize themselves to fight back, which saved many lives.
“When I heard the paragliders, I realized that they were terrorists,” recalled Amnon. “I took out my weapon and shouted on the radio: ‘Security chiefs, terrorists at Netiv HaAsara! Go to the defense! Go to the attack!’ The emergency teams had eight minutes to organize, and thanks to this, no one was killed in Zikim, Yad Mordechai, and Karmia. Three thousand people were saved.”
Indeed, the members of Yad Mordechai’s emergency squad prevented the terrorists from entering the kibbutz, and in Zikim and Karmia, battles were also fought along the outside fences. The alert squad in Zikim even came across a military Savannah vehicle stolen by the terrorists and eliminated them.
“I assess that they intended to reach Ashkelon and murder hundreds of people,” Amnon added.
Amnon said that the regional council had been asking the Israeli army for these special radio devices for the last five years, but never got a response. Only after he met Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for Aid & Aliyah, and told her about the need for these walkie-talkies, did he receive the equipment.
“Due to government budget constraints, we decided to donate these special radio devices to most of the regional council emergency first response teams along the Gaza border over the past four years, and I remember seeing the excitement in their eyes when they received them,” said Nicole. “After all, these teams carry a great responsibility for their communities in times of crisis. Little did we know then just how critical these devices would turn out to be in the days to come.”
The devices feature medium-wave radio technology that can use existing signal towers to send secured messages and alerts to everyone simultaneously in real time. This is more effective than using group chats on cell phones, which have proven too slow and cumbersome to rely upon in times of crisis.
The Christian Embassy has now supplied these same communication devices to most of the regional councils in the Gaza envelope. We recently learned from officials in the Eshkol region that the radio devices helped alert residents of Kibbutz Re’im and saved that kibbutz from being overrun as well.
Along with the walkie-talkies, the ICEJ also has donated nearly 150 portable bomb shelters and dozens of firefighting trailers and ATVs to the regional councils along the Gaza border, from Hof Ashkelon all the way down to Keren Shalom on the Sinai border.
“We have used this equipment many times before to put out fires,” Amnon said. “When we called the fire department, they never came. But I knew we would need these walkie-talkies for this one day.”
Amnon sent a letter this week to ICEJ President Dr. Jürgen Bühler thanking the organization for the communication equipment and explaining how the devices saved over 3,000 lives in his regional council on that infamous day of the Simchat Torah massacres. His letter stated:
“There are no words in the human language to express my gratitude, the gratitude of the residents of the regional council and the gratitude of the citizens of the State of Israel to you. There are no words that can express the greatness of your actions and the saving of their lives, which was only possible thanks to them.”
“I was moved to hear about the rescue of the residents thanks to our donation,” responded Dr. Bühler. “The mass terror attacks on October 7 touched the raw nerve of the Holocaust, and as Christians we feel a strong moral duty to stand with Israel in these most difficult times. Millions of Christians all over the world support you and know that your war is also our fight, a war of light versus darkness.”
The ICEJ is continuing to respond to the urgent needs of Israeli communities along the Gaza border and throughout the nation. Please join us in these worthy efforts by giving a generous donation to our Israel in Crisis fund.