The Iron Lions

Testimonials from the war in israel, Oct 23'

Rotem Mathias


Rotem Mathias, 16 years old, and his family lived in Kibbutz Holit when Hamas terrorists stormed it last Saturday. 

Rotem helped his parents block the doors of their house using anything they could find -- including mattresses and tables. But it wasn't enough.

The gunmen opened fire on the house as they sprayed bullets through the windows. Rotem's parents, Shlomi and Shahar, were murdered before his eyes. "The terrorists opened the door," Rotem, an Israeli-American citizen, told the ABC network. "They threw a grenade or something that exploded. The last thing my father said was that he lost his hand, and then my mother died on top of me.”

Rotem lay quietly as he hid alone for hours, covered in blood, as Hamas terrorists returned to look for survivors. He managed to send a short text message to his extended family, writing: "Parents died, sorry." He shared: "I just held my breath, got it as low as I could. I didn't move. I was scared. I didn't make any noise. I prayed to God that they wouldn't find me

After that, the terrorists set fire to Rotem's house and others in the kibbutz, which forced him to leave. Israeli forces eventually located and rescued him. 

Now, Rotem is in Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva alongside his older sister, who also hid throughout the ordeal but managed to barricade herself in a safe room. Ilan, the grandfather of the orphaned siblings, told ABC about the terrible massacre: "They came back and wanted to kill everyone. This is a story from the Holocaust – they lit a fire so that if there were any survivors, they would get out of the house, so they could murder them."