Chava Berman Borowsky

Rafah Rescue: Real Life James Bond

Ten seconds. That was the exact window of time the special mission forces had to protect the hostages with their own bodies until they’d be led down a rope down the window. If anything would go wrong in these ten seconds the entire mission would be a failure.

The team had planned for every single possible contingency. And good thing because the window they planned on using to rescue the hostages was blocked with a bookcase. But the team was ready for this as well. The plan would also only work if both the 60- and 70-year-old hostages would place their full faith in the soldiers who had come to save them and if they would carefully follow the instructions on how to slide down the rope.

The decision to use the rope was made because it was understood that if they would come through the street there would be fierce fighting, as the entire neighborhood was aware that there were hostages in this building. Every single building surrounding the building with Louis Har and Fernando Marman was heavily armed with terrorists. It was not a secret to the residents of this neighborhood that hostages were being kept among them. 

The commander of the mission also prepared in his own personal meaningful way. His son was part of the forces who came to help rescue attendees at the Nova Festival and was murdered at the festival site. The morning before the rescue mission he visited the grave of his fallen son to ask for his blessing to ensure that the rescue mission would be a success.

One primary source of intelligence which the mission would not be successful without was the niece of both Louis and Fernando, Mia Leimberg. You may remember her as the girl who was released from captivity together with her dog Bella. Mia happens to have an incredible sense of direction and on her own reached out to the necessary parties to make the rescue a reality. She described in detail, including everything that was possible to see from the window, the place where she was held captive together with her uncles.

As of now 97 hostages still remain waiting to be rescued. Of the initial 253 hostages, 112 were returned, 11 corpses were returned, and 33 corpses still remain.

About the Author
Chava Berman Borowsky grew up in Los Angeles, CA in an Orthodox community in the La Brea Fairfax neighborhood. She moved to Israel in 2008 and has since lived in Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh, Holon, and Ashdod. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, painting, and writing.