The Iron Lions

Testimonials from the war in israel, Oct 23'

Dr. Levy Avraham


Yesterday I volunteered to join the Zaka forces in Beeri. I wanted to feel helpful.

I still can’t get the smell of rotting corpses from my mind. Images of a hand here and a jaw there. Bodies swollen and teeming with maggots and flies. Houses burnt to the ground, trees torn from the ground, cars smashed.

When I was a doctor in the emergency department, I saw children burned to death, people crushed in car accidents, and faces mutilated, so I thought this was something I could deal with. When I saw the first body, swollen and smelling of excrement, urine, and decay, I knew this was something I never came across.

Putting a body in a bag sounds easy, but when the body is 5-days old, it’s not easy at all. The shoes are full of liquid. The smell penetrates even though you breathe from the mouth. It’s a horror movie, but it isn’t a movie at all. With at least four people, I had to break the limbs to fit the body inside the bag. The gag reflex keeps returning.

The Zaka members and I continued to collect more and more bodies. Mountains of bodies. 

We continued to scan the houses. A disturbing feeling of sadness, fear and shock followed. 

Going into the private quarters of families that are completely annihilated. Abandoned houses, lives that were halted all at once. A hungry cat howling. An abandoned knife on the sidewalk. Shelters completely destroyed with a mattress that was used as a human shield. Complete chaos. 

Some of the houses burnt, some of them abandoned. Television sets that are still on. A cup of coffee on the table. Some houses were ruined to the ground. You go through house after house. Every now and then a shred of fear comes up, whether there is a terrorist still lurking somewhere.

You reach a pile of dead bodies at the end of a street where a fierce battle took place. A cover of a cooking show between bricks. Children's toys. Old death certificates combined with a jaw and human hand. Bodies whose insides have been slashed open, full of excrements and urine splattered across one big mess.

How could human beings do such a thing? Collecting body parts like a human made puzzle, made by a murderous animal. There is a body with feminine hands. There a naked body with her mouth gagged with a piece of cloth.

At a certain point next to a terrorist truck with a machine gun on top, the terrorists collected laptops and wallets they stole. Someone said: “Look how these animals tried to steal property.” I said: “Forget property, they stole life.”