February 22, 2024

Upon entering the Kibbutz Kissufim, my battalion was met with a pungent odor of death, and the bloated body of a Hamas terrorist. His face, resembling that of a fish out of water, was a stark contrast to the tattered IDF uniforms and all the gear that lay around him. My unit was among the first ones to be called up following the Hamas attack on October 7, and as our enlisted members gathered to prepare, I couldn’t shake off the ominous feeling that something was seriously amiss. Breaking Sabbath to head to the brigade meeting site, I could sense the simmering tension in the air as we made our way to join the other reservists. What followed was days of relentless training and preparations, with the unsettling reality of a combat deployment looming over us. The uncertainty and lack of information only added to our anxiety, but we knew that we had to be ready for whatever was to come. Finally, when we were sent to Kissufim, the town that had been attacked, we were faced with the grim aftermath of the conflict. Wading through the wreckage, patrolling every corner, we were met with scenes reminiscent of an apocalyptic setting. The town that was once full of life now lay barren, with burnt homes and vehicles riddled with bullet holes. As we worked tirelessly to secure the area, our encounters with death and destruction only fueled our determination to bring peace and stability back to the community of Kissufim.