A special token of courage for the three hostages

Yotam Haim. Wikipedia, mylenos

On Monday, at an impressive ceremony held at the President’s House in Jerusalem, President Isaac ‘Buzhi’ Herzog presented a special medal of bravery on behalf of the State of Israel to honor the memory and actions of the three hostages killed in December by friendly fire. The event was attended by the families of the three hostages, the president and his wife, as well as other representatives from the state institutions and the IDF.

The death of the three hostages took place four months ago, but it is undoubtedly one of the most memorable, hard and difficult moments in the war. It was during the fierce battle in Sjaiya, when the 36th IDF Division operated in the area. Three hostages – Yotam Haim, Alon Shmeris and Samer Talalaka, who were taken to the Gaza Strip on October 7, managed to escape their captors and wonder alone on the dangerous battlefield for a long time. The three sought to make contact with IDF soldiers in a way that would not endanger them, but the attempt to do so failed – and as they approached the forces, the three were mistakenly identified as terrorists and shot to death. The incident led to a change in the rules of engagement when suspected hostages are present, an event that has not been repeated since.

Much appreciation comes to the families of the three hostages, who did not use the tragic event to criticize the IDF or pressure the government, but to promote messages of unity, heroism and resilience. Iris Haim, Yotam’s mother, was particularly characterized by this – and continued in this path in what she said at the ceremony yesterday: “You were set free of your captors, you walked around as partisans in the dangerous forest called Sjaiya, under constant fire, with your weapons being your friendship, determination, and inexhaustible courage.”

The President also spoke in a similar manner: “Three courageous Israelis, with a pact of fate cut down between them… With determination, resourcefulness and extraordinary mutual guarantee, they set out on a journey of heroic self-rescue from the valley of the shadow of death against all odds… This incredible story, and its terrible end, pierced all of our hearts.”

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