Retired Israeli Military General, 62, Rescues Family and Others From Hamas Terrorist Attacks


Retired IDF Major General Noam Tibon, 62, leapt back into battle after receiving a text from his son, who lived more than three hours away, saying that he and his wife and young daughters were trapped in their home and surrounded by Hamas terrorists. Photo: Bar Harel/WIkimedia

The recent horrific attacks in Israel by Hamas terrorists shocked the world with their brutality, with images of children, adults and seniors under siege circulating on social media. 

Among the more than 2,000 confirmed dead as a result of the initial attacks and counteroffensives are three Canadians, two of whom were killed when Hamas terrorists descended upon the Tribe of Nova music festival in Southern Israel on Saturday.

Meanwhile, it’s believed that Hamas took Vivian Silver, a 74-year-old Canadian-Israeli human rights activist, hostage following an attack on her home near the Gaza Strip — one of numerous Canadians now presumed to be prisoners of the terrorist group.

However, amidst the horror of the last few days there have been stories of heroism, like that of Yair Golan, a 61-year-old Israeli politician and retired major general with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), who reportedly donned his old military uniform and rushed toward the sites of the Hamas attacks to save the lives of numerous people caught in the deadly crosshairs of terrorist fire.  

And then there’s the incredible story of 62-year-old Noam Tibon, also a retired IDF major general, who journeyed more than three hours from his home in Tel Aviv with his wife to Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where his son, journalist Amir Tibon, Amir’s wife Miri and two young daughters — ages three and one — were trapped when their community was besieged by Hamas terrorists. 

According to news reports, as well as Amir’s own account of the situation, which he wrote for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, he, his wife and daughters took refuge in a bomb shelter in their home without power, food or, eventually, cell phone service.

“It was our worst nightmare. Armed Hamas militants burst into our kibbutz and were literally standing on the doorstep, while we were locked inside with our two little girls,” Amir recalled.

Amir, however, did have a chance to send a message to his father, who replied with a message of his own: He was on his way to save them. 

The 62-year-old and his wife Gali reportedly jumped in his car immediately and headed straight for Nahal Oz, encountering victims of other attacks along the way. Noam and Gali stopped to help them, eventually getting them to safety.

Later, after encountering a group of Israeli soldiers, Amir wrote that one of them joined his father on the journey to Nahal Oz.

Upon arriving at the kibbutz, Noam Tibon and the soldier who accompanied him fought off Hamas terrorists and rescued Israeli soldiers, driving them back to Mefalsim. Gali brought them to a hospital while Noam returned to Nahal Oz armed with the weapons of one of the wounded soldiers.

Also accompanying Noam on the initial journey to Nahal Oz was another retired Israeli military commander — 66-year-old Israel Ziv, the former head of the IDF Operations Directorate who the New York Times declared “grabbed his pistol and took on Hamas.”  

“Another retired general joined him,” Amir wrote, “the one who put on his uniform and voluntarily went south to try to save the people. So, two retired military officers, both over 60 years old, were heading into a war zone to try to save us and other families.”

The Times reported that “[Ziv] and Mr. Tibon linked up with a platoon of young soldiers, piled several of them into the Audi and began attacking Hamas gunmen on the road,” adding that, while Ziv was originally only armed with a pistol, “after a soldier in his car was wounded, Mr. Ziv snatched his M16 and started firing out the window.”

Along the way, Amir wrote, they met up with other IDF soldiers and coordinated a plan to liberate the kibbutz. As they approached Nahal Oz, the Times explained that Ziv separated from the group and heroically “raced to other hot spots … rushing around the kibbutzim and villages under attack, firing his own weapon, organizing evacuations of civilians and coordinating with the military to dispatch backup units as fast as possible.”

Noam and his team, meanwhile, began the process of liberating Nahal Oz.

“We started to go house by house and searched for terrorists,” Noam Tibon told NBC News. “And when I came to the area of my son’s house, there were at least five bodies of terrorists a brave Israeli soldier killed.”

Recalling the rescue, Amir noted that, “Outside the house we saw the corpses of five terrorists, one of whom was still holding a grenade launcher.  It turned out that death was even closer than we thought.”

Knowing that his father was on his way gave Amir and his family hope as they lay silently in darkness in the bomb shelter, cell phones dead, with the sound of gunfire echoing outside their home. 

At 4 p.m., Amir recalled, “we heard a knock on the window, and then a familiar voice. Galia [his three-year-old daughter] immediately said: ‘This is grandfather.’ For the first time in the morning we all burst into tears.”

“I knocked on the security window of the room and I said, ‘Amir, it’s me. It’s father, Noam. You can open,” the 62-year-old told NBC.

Amir wrote that, following the community’s liberation, “our house became a field headquarters. Soldiers came and went, bringing wounded neighbours, families whose homes had been broken into, and elderly people who did not want to be left alone.”

It’s an incredible story of heroism to be sure. But for the retired military man, his composure in discussing the event demonstrates he never had any doubt that he’d complete the rescue and save his family. 

Noam noted in his NBC interview that he had told his son via text at the outset of the attack that he and his family must remain quiet and locked down and to trust that he’d come to save them.

“And he knew that I will come. This is my profession. Nobody, nobody, nobody can stop me.”

Lead photo of Noam Tibon courtesy of  דובר צה”ל, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.