Chava Berman Borowsky

The Tank that Killed 100 Terrorists

On Simchat Torah there were supposed to be 14 tanks for the entire area of the Gaza envelope. Instead there were just six. Budget cuts to the tank division were partially responsible for the dearth of tanks. 23 year-old Bar Zonshein and 21 year-old Yisrael Tayeb found themselves on one of the only functioning tanks on that fateful day.

The six man tank platoon found themselves in an impossible situation with unimaginable decisions to be made in the blink of an eye. There was no functioning communication system and they saw swarms of terrorists flocking over the border. Yisrael Tayeb, the driver of the tank, has a correct gut feeling that if he doesn’t immediately overpower the terrorists they’ll soon make their way to the center of Israel and wreak inconceivable havoc. 

Bar Zonshein orders the sniper of the tank to shoot at every single threat. There isn’t enough time to neutralize the terrorists and so Yisrael Tayeb mows over some of the terrorists simultaneously. As they’re making their way to different locations they see something that sends them in shock. A tank is on fire and all the latches are open. They immediately realize that this entire tank has been taken hostage. They see two Toyota pick-up trucks with terrorists and what they now realize are military hostages. They make the split second decision to fire at the pick-up trucks, even with the understanding that they may have been killing their comrades-in-arms. They felt an acute responsibility to not allow any defeat and to pay the devastating price of saving their country.

Bar and Yisrael’s tank becomes the first tank to enter the Gaza strip when Israel begins their ground invasion. Bar is proclaimed a hero but he’s uncomfortable with all the praise. He humbly replies that he was just acting as a regular soldier. Yisrael is now back in Gaza and we see that he’s both an outstanding fierce warrior but that he also has a gentle heart of gold. “When I went into Gaza I drove around the chickens so as not to hurt them, but the terrorists who came to kill our women and children are sub-human.”

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.
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