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Prof. Yiftah Gepner (Photo Credit: TAU)

TAU Professor Saves Brother’s Life in the Thick of Battle

26 October 2023 |

Prof. Yftach Gepner overcomes a shootout with terrorists to rush his injured brother to the hospital.

On the morning of October 7, Tel Aviv University Prof. Yftach Gepner, Faculty of Medicine, received a call from his brother, Elad, to come help defend their moshav. Little did he know Elad would be shot and that he would have to rush Elad to a hospital while under intense fire from Hamas terrorists. 

That Prof. Gepner’s moshav near the Gaza border, Ein Habesor, was equipped and ready to defend itself from the dozens of terrorists which descended upon it that Saturday is thanks to a coincidental twist of fate.  

In the last few months, the moshav experienced a string of car thefts. To stop them, it increased its security detail from 12 to 78 people who were trained and added to a WhatsApp network such that one text could have them at the perimeter fence in minutes. When the Hamas terrorists showed up and tried to infiltrate, the fence was already being patrolled and backup came quickly.

Elad was on security detail that morning, when suddenly he and his fellow guards found themselves caught in a shootout. With bullets flying, Elad called his brother to come help him. Guns were in short supply, so Prof. Gepner came running with only a rock in his hand as a weapon. Soon, Elad was shot in the shoulder and it was up to Prof. Gepner to get him to safety.

He managed to bring his car to Elad and get him into the back seat, then hightail it in reverse to the back road of the moshav which leads to the route to Soroka Hospital. When they got out onto the road, they were met with a gory spectacle: 30 Hamas militants piled into pickup trucks and motorcycles, all in formation and shooting up the road. Along the sides were hit cars…and their drivers. “It took me a moment to really process what I was seeing,” Prof. Gepner said on a recent news broadcast. 

Prof. Gepner peeled down the road as terrorists shot after him, and his brother was hit again. With luck and daring on his side, he spun the car around and made it back to the entrance to the moshav where an ambulance was waiting. The ambulance driver also displayed great courage and drove through the gunfire to get Elad to the hospital.

Elad is now in stable condition and recovering well. When the dust settled, it became clear that the swelled security detail of Moshav Ein Habesor had managed with only four machine guns and a few pistols to keep the terrorists from breaching their border. Only two guards were injured in the shootout.

Prof. Gepner, who runs a TAU Faculty of Medicine lab focused on exercise science and is a member of the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute, is hopeful that his moshav will be able to renew its sense of safety. He told the Times of Israel, “We created a beautiful place here at Moshav Ein Habesor, and soon, we will be even stronger.”

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