Swords Of Iron

290th day of fighting

Heroes of October 7 – Idit Banin

Idit Banin, a shift officer at MDA's 101 Dispatch Center in Jerusalem, with a call she just can't get out of her head.

Meeting the female heroes of the 7th of October, this time, Idit Banin, a shift officer at MDA’s 101 Dispatch Center in Jerusalem, with a call she just can’t get out of her head.

It was 8:07, Shabbat morning.  About an hour since the start of the horrifying attack. I got called from home to get to the station ASAP. I sat down, and received my first call.

There was a lot of noise and stuttering in the background, and I considered ending the conversation and move on to the next one, because there were so many waiting calls.

However, a gut feeling told me to stay online and try to understand what is happening on the other end of the line, and as it turned out, it’s a good thing that I did.

The caller was a 9-year-old boy.

I try to encourage him, and understand the reason he called 101.  He’s scared, and he stutters.

”What’s your name?” He told me.

”What do you need sweetheart?”

”My mother and father are dead in the living room”, He replied.

”Are you sure?”

”Yes, I saw them, they are dead”.

”Where are you from?”, I asked.

”Kfar Aza”.

”And where exactly are you now?”

”In my room, hiding in the closet”.

”Are you alone?”

”No, I’m with my 6 years old sister”, He whispered

”Are there any terrorist inside your house right now?”, I asked.

”I don’t know”.

”Ok, stay inside the closet for now”, I try to calm him down, ”The forces are on their way…”

Even though, deep inside I know that the rescue is far from arriving soon.

I was in two minds about what to do.  On the one hand, I wanted to stay with him on the line; we’re talking about a very young boy, a child, not even a teen, and he’s about my son’s age, who in an unimaginable circumstances became a super hero, trying to save his younger sister’s life along with his own. However, the calls keep on coming in and I have to hang up and move on to the next call.

I receive a new call.  This time it’s a soldier on one of the local army bases, and he is begging for help while everyone around him is either dead or severely injured… all that’s left is to guide him on how to treat the wounded, and to hope that he’ll survive until the IDF reinforcements will arrive to rescue him.

Then there’s another call. A casualty from the Nova music festival who was frustrated that no rescue teams had arrived. I try to keep him calm, while feeling the same frustration that I knew the rescue forces were on their way, but without knowing when they would arrive.

At around 10AM, I check if the boy from the call that won’t leave my mind, will answer me, but there’s no one on the other side of the line.

At around 12PM, I checked again, still, there’s no answer.

Since early in the morning that call’s ”Red Flag” that shows calls without a response was flickering on the screen among thousands of others, with no one to attend to it.

I couldn’t stop thinking about them, hiding in the closet.

Did the boy and his younger sister survive until forces came to their rescue?

Were they slaughtered? Kidnapped? Burned while they’re still alive? Or maybe they had no air in the closet, and they suffocated or starved to death?

No matter how much I tried to get any piece of information about them, I failed, up until Saturday night.  I was informed that they are alive, and for one moment, I breathed again.

For one moment, I felt a tiny little victory in this day of darkness

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