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Nofar Osmo and Livnat Sherman

Nofar Osmo // Special Populations Director at the Fund for Victims of Terror

Livnat Sherman // Survivor of the massacre at Kibbutz Holit

During the pandemic Livnat and her husband decided to change direction. They lived in a bus, moving between farms in the south; Livnat, who was deep into her kinesiology studies, dreamed that their new home would soon become a center for motorized treatments.

In August 2023 the bus reached Kibbutz Holit, and Livnat, together with her husband and their daughter Kesem, who was two, felt they had arrived home. Livnat says: “We enjoyed the kibbutz so much. We knew that we would soon want to become members, and in the meantime, we rented a flat. We already felt part of the community.”

On the morning of October 7, the dream shattered to the sound of explosions and shooting on the kibbutz. 

Livnat and her family entered the safe room, still not absorbing what was happening, and a little later were horrified to hear glass shattering and voices talking in Arabic. There were terrorists in the kibbutz. There were terrorists in their home. 

The terrorists tried to break down the door and the windows. Livnat’s husband held the door handle with all his strength. The terrorists began to give up, but before leaving they threw a grenade as a souvenir. It exploded and destroyed the home. “I wrote in the kibbutz Whatsapp group that they were firing on us, and everyone thought that I didn’t know what Qassam rockets were. One of the women wrote to me: ‘You’re just feeling stressed, I’ll come and calm you down,’ she says. “Sadly, today she’s not with us. Afterwards, I realized that we were the first home reached by the terrorists.” 

Livnat and her family survived the massacre, and escaped from the kibbutz after 11 hours, under the cover of darkness. Even as night fell, they still saw the bodies and the burnt vehicles piled up in the road. 

Every morning for the last two years, Nofar has woken with a feeling of great purpose. Until October 7, she was the Coordinator of the Fund for the Victims of Terror. Even then, there was a lot of work, and Nofar supported, accompanied, and organized events for dozens of families of victims. 

But nothing could have prepared Nofar for what happened after October 7. The scope of work increased significantly and became almost impossible. “The work of the women from the team and the organization was impressive,” she says. “Already in the first days of the war we absorbed dozens of staff and volunteers who helped us in the improvised operations room that we opened. We worked from morning to the small hours of the night, day after day, hour after hour. Then, amidst all the names and the painful stories, I noticed a familiar name: It was Livnat. I immediately checked how she was, and I was relieved when I learned that she was in a safe place.” 

Nofar and Livnat already knew each other back in 2009. Then, Livnat was in twelfth grade, and Nofar worked with her when she did national service in Ofakim. Although the two of them led busy lives, they kept in touch via phone. “I had a special connection with Nofar,” Livnat recalls. “She was part of my home, we hosted her on Shabbat, I would go to family events. Today I realize that it’s a lifelong connection.” 

The Jewish Agency for Israel

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