Jamal Waraki was among the first rescuers to reach Kibbutz Beeri after Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel on October 7, and the sight of slaughtered families and children is still etched in his memory, Reuters reported.
More than a month later, the volunteer rescuer is still shaken by the experience, recalling how he rushed to Beeri in an ambulance while bodies lay in the streets, the agency noted.
Waraki is an Israeli Muslim of Arab descent. According to him, what he experienced on October 7 shook him but also strengthened his belief that people should “stop the hatred” and learn to live together.
“I saw families, they were killed, many families,” Waraki told Reuters. Houses in Beeri were burned, families were killed in their own homes with a brutality that Waraki said had “nothing to do with Islam,” the agency said.
“Our religion, as a proud Muslim Israeli of Arab origin, I tell you, this has nothing to do with our religion,” Waraki stated.
Beeri was among the communities hardest hit by the October 7 Hamas attack, which Israeli officials said killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, shot in their own homes or at a dance festival, Reuters noted. The attack was the deadliest in Israel’s 75-year history.
According to Waraki, many Muslims were also killed in the attack. “It means that they (Hamas) are not doing this for their country or religion, they are just doing this out of hatred,” he said.
However, Waraki hopes that Jews, Arabs, Christians and Muslims can learn to live together in Israel and said “we are all the same”. “I think today Israel has learned to die together. Now is the time to learn to live together… We have to take care of this and we have to stop the hatred and start living together,” he added.