KFAR AZA, ISRAEL — “We’re gonna talk about what happened here in Kfar Aza, which unfortunately became a symbol for October 7,” said Knesset Member Danny Danon of the Likud party as he led a delegation of Evangelical leaders through the ruins of the kibbutz last week.
Hosted by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg, the delegation had met with family members of Israeli hostages kidnapped into Gaza earlier in the day.
Now the delegation came to see one of the communities from where their family members were murdered or kidnapped.
“Kibbutz Kfar Aza, on the 6th of October, had 900 civilians living here – on the 7th of October and the days following, 63 were murdered in this kibbutz, and 18 kidnapped into Gaza, some are still in Gaza as we’re speaking,” an IDF spokeswoman told the group before the tour began.
She led the Evangelical leaders through the blackened remains of what used to be where the kibbutz’s young people lived, those who had chosen to remain and continue the lifestyle of their parents.
This neighborhood lies closest to the kibbutz fence – barely 2 km (1.1 miles) from the border of the Gaza Strip – and suffered tremendous carnage during the assault.
Seeing the devastation left by Hamas terrorists up close in one of the hardest-hit communities of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, many of the participants were deeply affected and left with a new understanding of why Israel must uproot Hamas completely.
“To see it, I mean this just looks like a horrific horror movie, only it’s real and people were killed… in cold blood," said Sam Brownback, former governor of Kansas.
"It really makes me, all that much more, realize that we’ve just got to stand with Israel and Israel has to be able to defend itself because otherwise, this would happen in many different places across Israel,” he added, as IDF artillery boomed in the background.
Danon concurred: “We can uproot evil. The same way the U.S. uprooted the Nazi ideology… or what happened in Japan post-World War II – that’s what we have to do here. We have to uproot the culture of hate.”
The IDF spokeswoman explained that much of the destruction and horror inflicted on Kfar Aza was the result of acts perpetrated by ordinary civilians, some without any clear affiliations with Hamas, who had followed the initial onslaught of the Hamas terrorists, only to loot, torture, murder and burn what remained hours later.
Out of respect for the dead, many of the burnt-out homes could only be looked at from the outside, but at least one was made available for visitors – the residence of the young couple Sivan Elkabets and Noam Hasidim, who were murdered in their home.
“We’re at the home of a young couple who were both murdered here in their home… just a young couple starting out,” Huckabee said, visibly affected while standing in the barely recognizable former living room. “There are bullet holes in the ceiling, the walls, everywhere.”
“We’re all feeling a sense of being gut-punched by the whole experience of walking through this carnage and realizing that precious, innocent, human beings…were slaughtered in their own home by these uncivilized savages,” Huckabee continued.
“I’ve been here through a lot of things in over 50 years of coming – nothing like this. Nothing like this and I pray to God it never happens again and that’s why I want the world to unite, and to stand with Israel, unapologetically, without equivocation, and make it clear that what happened here is evil behavior… it must be eradicated,” Huckabee added.
Pastor Skip Heitzig, said that he spent time in his youth on an Israeli kibbutz similar to Kfar Aza and noted the biblical reasons for his support for Israel.
“As a Christian who has no Jewish roots nor any reason, except for biblical reasons, to stand for Israel, I stand, we stand – and we want the Jewish people to know that we stand – with them. We pray for them, we love them, we bring tours to see this land and help the economy,” he said.
“But more than that – because we believe in God’s Word and we believe what God has promised to these people and because of that, we want to be a part of that blessing.”
Hanan Lischinsky has a Master’s degree in Middle East & Israel studies from Heidelberg University in Germany, where he spent part of his childhood and youth. He finished High School in Jerusalem and served in the IDF’s Intelligence Corps. Hanan and his wife live near Jerusalem, and he joined ALL ISRAEL NEWS in August 2022.