Shattered Ideals: Dalia Weissman Pleads for Grandson’s Return
Grandmother Dalia Weissman shares her harrowing experiences during the attack on Kibbutz Be’eri and her disillusionment with the possibility of peace
By Felice Friedson/The Media Line
TML: Please state your name.
Dalia Weissman: My name is Dalia Weissman. I’m living in Moshav Maslul. It’s near Kibbutz Be’eri, where my daughter and whole family live. On October 7, many terrorists, hundreds, came into the kibbutz.
TML: And what happened? Who did you hear from that day?
Dalia Weissman: Look, I was in my room, the mamad, the shelter room. She was with her son and two granddaughters in this room, and we talked. I wrote to her in WhatsApp. She told me not to call her because she didn’t want there to be any ring. She wrote to me that she was hearing many, many bombs and she was hearing, ‘[Allahu] al Akbar,’ and she asked me, ‘Mommy, where is the army? They are not here?’
And we kept talking by writing until 11:30 [am]. At that time, there was no connection at all anymore, because the barbarians, I don’t know what name to call them, the Hamas came to her house, and they took them outside from the room. They took their phone, and there was no connection anymore.
I [don’t] want to tell [you] about this story. I want to tell [you] something else if you allow me. I want to tell [you] that I am not old, but I am 72 years old, and my husband and I have four daughters. We lived before in Kibbutz Nir Oz.
Many friends of ours are not with us anymore, and from the moment they [our children] were born, we raised them to love and not to hate. We have a very big ideology about our neighbors and about us. We were neighbors. We lived with them. They worked with us until these days.
TML: You’re talking about the Gazans that came and worked with you?
Dalia Weissman: Yes, yes. We are friends. We were like brothers. I raised my daughters to be like us, that they also have children like them, and we have to understand that they are poor, that they don’t have money, and that they don’t have food like we have.
It was years and years [like this], even [during] the times the bombs [fell on us], not [during] this war, but [the one] before [with] all the bombs that we got. All of the attacks, etc. And all of the time, we keep saying [that] there are many, many good people here. Don’t think about anything else.
The 7th of October, for me and my family, it’s something very, very big that is broken. We don’t believe anymore. We understand that we can’t be neighbors. We can’t be friends. They are not thinking like us. We saw something else [and] we don’t understand how they think. We don’t understand anything, and this will not happen again.
I don’t think that there is a place in the world where people would understand this. No one can agree that people like this will come to their house, to their country, take them from the bed, no matter if it’s [a] baby, if it’s a woman, if it’s an older woman, no matter nothing!
It’s unbelievable! It’s unbelievable to think there’s people like this. I don’t know. We are a very strong country. We are a country with special people, and we, as citizens, will be something else here. It will not be like this.
I’m not going to any place [else] in the world. This is my home, and here I will raise my grandchildren and grandson and daughters.
I’m really confused about what I raised all my life. All my life! My parents came here and built this country. I don’t have the exact words to say what happened inside. It’s broken, and the world must understand this. Today it’s here. Tomorrow it will maybe be in another country. Terrorists must be wiped out. Absolutely! They are not human beings.
When it comes to your bed[room] and what is the best place where you feel safe, your home. To come to her home and take her child like this, Amit Shani, my grandson.
TML: Well, let me stop you there, because I think you had a grandson that was kidnapped.
Dalia Weissman: I am doing it for him.
TML: Show me the photo.
Dalia Weissman: I am doing it for him. I am not a TV woman to talk on the TV.
TML: Say it again.
Dalia Weissman: I am not a TV woman. I can’t talk to the [media], especially in English. It’s not my language, but Amit, I am doing it for you. Or, I believe that he is coming [back home]. There is no other option. He is coming back soon!
He is 16 years old. On this Saturday, he has his birthday. I am on October 9, and he’s on the 21st [of October], and his sister is [the] 22nd [of October]. Every year, we celebrate together. So, what happened this year? What happened?
TML: So many of your friends were killed.
Dalia Weissman: Yes.
TML: There are so many families here that have had either family members kidnapped or killed. It’s a very close-knit community. I have seen here in the hotel so many families relying on each other for strength. How do you feel the community is going to be able to get through this?
Dalia Weissman: I think I know Kibbutz Be’eri. This is a very, very strong community. It was a kibbutz like you are walking in paradise. I always said that my grandchildren [receive] so good [an] education, and place. They have all of their needs. It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. Also, for the children and also for the grown-up people, for the adults. And for old people.
I believe that they are very, very strong. There are very, very good people there. They lost many, many, many people from the community. It’s a big kibbutz. There are more than 1,000 [residents], and more than 100 [people are] dead.
I believe in them. I hope for them, and for all other people in other kibbutzim. You know, all of this area has a lot of kibbutzim. I live in a moshav, but I believe that they will build it up again. It will take time. I don’t know, but [I] imagine that they don’t have anything. Nothing!
TML: Everyone who came here was told to quickly just take one minute to grab anything they can, and that was it. People had nothing, I see.
Dalia Weissman: Even one second [they didn’t have]. They took us out [immediately] and they fired at the house, and then she with another woman that Amit was kidnapped with [along with] her husband and one more adult. And they, all of the women and the daughters looked for another place to stay until the army will come.
They went nine hours [waiting] until they could go out from where they [were hiding to] find a place not to be outside. She doesn’t have anything. But this is, you know, material. Material you can buy over time, but the burning inside, what they show, the experience of what happened to them with the six, seven [terrorists] that came into her house. They even had some negotiation with them. This will be inside and I hope good treatment will bring them back to life. The good life. I’m sure they [will] rise up and they will be OK, but it will take a long, long time with treatment and understanding what happened there.
TML: Dalia, tell me a little bit about your grandson.
Dalia Weissman: My grandson is a nice boy. He is funny. He is very good in everything he is touching. He’s a very friendly boy. This is the age of growing up. He can talk [macho], but he is very clever. He has many friends. Amit, we are waiting [for you back home].
I am sure he is strong and that he will take it. He will come here, and I’m telling my daughter, about what are you worrying? What happened? Nothing happened! It will [hopefully] be something like this.
I told her [that] she was shouting when they took him, and he told her, “Mommy, be quiet. They will kill us!” And then he was like this, and they tied his hands [behind his back] and he went to the car. And he said, “It will be OK,” to my daughter. “It will be OK.” And then he went.
But I all of the time say that he’s coming back. He is coming back, I am sure.
TML: Well, I hope and I pray that you have good news and that you can pick up the phone and say that he’s back.
Dalia Weissman: I will call you. It will be in these days.
TML: I’m praying for that for you. Dalia, thank you!
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