Black Sabbath - The Battle to defend Kibbutz Alumim

Prof. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman wrote in Tablet magazine about the battle to defend Kibbutz Alumim on October 7. This special article is based largely on in-depth interviews with most of the Alumim defenders and with a number of others who played crucial roles, on captured Hamas documents provided by IDF, and on a meeting with Alumim’s surviving Thai workers.

"The evening of October 6 was especially festive at Kibbutz Alumim, one of the two religiously observant kibbutzim among the communities that dot the Gaza envelope, the part of Israel’s fertile northwestern Negev region adjacent to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Most of Alumim’s 500 residents and their guests had gathered at the kibbutz’s synagogue to celebrate with song and dance the start of the Simchat Torah holiday, one of the two most joyous days on the Jewish calendar. Many of them didn’t finally retire until after midnight.

Ordinarily they would have returned to the synagogue the next morning to continue the celebration. Instead, at 6:29 a.m., they were suddenly roused from their beds by a deafening cascade of rocket launches from a nearby Iron Dome anti-missile battery, and the resulting booms marking the interceptions of some of the thousands of missiles launched from Gaza, less than 4 kilometers away. The usual Color Red warning alarms were barely audible amid the deafening tumult. So many intercepts were being fired that it was as if the Iron Dome firing mechanism was somehow stuck in the “launch” position. After a few minutes, the firing stopped completely, apparently because all of the battery’s available missiles had been used."