How an 81-year-old woman escaped Hamas on October 7

Jacqueline Glicksman jumped out of her window and ‘ran like mad’ when terrorists broke into her house in Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Old age is not necessarily a factor when one’s life is on the line, although it certainly helps to be relatively fit, 81-year-old Jacqueline Glicksman found out on October 7 when she escaped from Hamas terrorists who invaded her home in Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.

When the rocket alert sirens went off early in the morning, she entered her safe room, she said in an interview from the hotel in Eilat where she had been evacuated, as part of a collection of testimonies by survivors that is being collected for posterity.

At first thinking this was just an “ordinary” aerial attack like the kind she had been through many times before on her Gazan envelope kibbutz where she has lived for 45 years, she went half an hour later to the kitchen to get some breakfast.

Then things changed.

“My son called from America, and while I was talking to him, I said, ‘Gabi, I hear “Allahu akbar” outside [God is great, in Arabic]. He told me to close all the lights, put the phone on silent and stay quiet.”

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She sat on her bed while hearing many loud noises, and thought that perhaps the IDF had come. Suddenly, an armed terrorist opened her door, put a finger to his lips, and questioned in a motion whether she had a gun. She motioned back that she didn’t. He then took her phone and Tablet and left, closing the door after him.

Three other men – “civilians,” she emphasized, “they weren’t armed” – then broke her window, and demanded money. When she put her empty hands up in a shrug, she said, “They motioned as if to say, ‘Ah, she isn’t worth it,’ and left.”

Soon she heard people scattering something that sounded  like grains of sand on the other side of the door of her safe room. “I said to myself, ‘This is it, it’s either now or never,’ because I figured they were not sprinkling candies about. I climbed onto the dresser and jumped out of the window. In my pajamas.”

She ran, barefoot, “at least a kilometer and a half…like a madwoman, trembling from head to toe” to the secretariat, where she saw the kibbutz’s security coordinator dead on the ground. She ran on, seeing houses on fire, and started knocking on doors while calling out “Is anyone here?” Finally someone heard her and whisked her inside to their own safe room, where they stayed until the army came. They were evacuated the next day, when the soldiers could ensure their safety.

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The mother of three, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of two left with nothing, with borrowed clothes on her back. Her house was burned to the ground.

She knows she was very lucky, though.

Looking back, she said, “It’s really impossible that I’m still alive because I could have met – I didn’t even think of it then – terrorists on the way. And they were there, they were going around the whole kibbutz. They murdered four people.”

“It was hard,” she admitted in a separate interview of her escape from death. “Very hard.” But she also laughed, sharing that her grandson had told his friends her story and one of them said, “Your grandma is a ninja!”