At ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, our heroic rehabilitative specialists have the honor of caring for many courageous survivors of the October 7 attacks and nursing them back to physical and emotional wellness. Chief among them is Rabbi Shahar Butzhak, spiritual leader of the religious community in Ofakim, who was wounded while protecting his community from Hamas terrorists that infiltrated the town.
On October 7, Rabbi Butzhak was startled awake at 6:30 AM by the sounds of missile alert sirens. Soon thereafter, he received notification from the IDF’s Southern Command that droves of Hamas terrorists had invaded Ofakim. Hearing gunshots outside his home, Rabbi Butzhak grabbed his gun and headed towards the gunfight in hopes of containing the threat and safeguarding his community. On the way, he met up with two other members of the community, who were also armed. A sudden barrage of gunfire enveloped them, and they returned fire, neutralizing several terrorists.
As they began to close in on the remaining terrorists, an IDF soldier sprinted towards them. In an instant, it became clear that the figure was actually a terrorist dressed as an Israeli soldier, but it was too late – the terrorist shot first and wounded Rabbi Butzhak in the leg.
As the firefight raged on, Rabbi Butzhak found his way to a bomb shelter and continued shooting. He simultaneously sent a message to the community’s WhatsApp group, urging other armed civilians in the vicinity to join the fight.
A police officer found Rabbi Butzhak and dragged him to a nearby house, where he was able to catch his breath but began losing a lot of blood. Still focused on the community’s safety ahead of his own, Rabbi Butzhak gave his gun to another community member who continued fighting in his stead. After bleeding out for more than 90 minutes, Rabbi Butzhak was discovered by first responders, who made a tourniquet to stop the breeding and rushed him to Soroka Hospital.
Two weeks later, Rabbi Butzhak was transferred to the Kaylie Rehabilitation Medical Center at ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, where he is receiving intensive physical therapy and emotional support. A true warrior, Rabbi Butzhak is healing quickly and has already begun walking again. He is so grateful to ADI’s specialists for helping him fast track his rehabilitation that he has been returning the favor by telling his story to staff, volunteers and visitors, buoying their spirits and strengthening their resolve.
By empowering each other, we will bring the light during these dark times. With love and humanity, we shall overcome!