The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 5 April 2003 / 3 Nisan 5763

The Hero of Otniel

The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Noam Apter, may G-d avenge his blood, was a true hero who sacrificed himself to save his fellow yeshiva students.

On December 27, 2002, over a hundred Israeli teenagers sat down for the Shabbat meal at the Yeshiva of Otniel. Four of the students whose turn it was to be the evenings "waiters" went to serve the main course in the kitchen adjoining the dining room. Noam Apter, 23, was among them. Suddenly two terrorists dressed in Israeli army uniforms burst into the kitchen and sprayed the four waiters with fire from their M16s. Hit by the bullets and mortally wounded, Noam used his last strength to run to the door connecting between the kitchen and the dining room, and closed it. He locked it and threw the key into a corner. He then collapsed and died, lying against the door.

The terrorists tried to open the door. Seeing it locked, they tried to spray fire through a small glass window into the dining room After realizing that this fire was somewhat inaccurate and wild (it wounded six more students), and having already killed the four student waiters, the terrorists fled the kitchen, later to be hunted down and killed by the Israeli army. According to Yaakov Ohana, an 18 year old wounded survivor of the attack, quoted in the Israeli daily Maariv, "Our great luck was that Noam succeeded in locking the door to the dining room and throwing the key into a dark corner; otherwise the terrorists would have massacred dozens."

A real hero!

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