Israeli mother hailed as hero for fighting off terrorist

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Yael Re'em-Matzpun, a 39-year-old mother of four, is being hailed in Israel as a hero after she fought off a Palestinian terrorist intent on killing her and her children.

The incident occurred early Monday morning when a Palestinian man armed with a metal bar and a knife infiltrated southern Israel and entered the nearby Jewish village of Sde Avraham.

The attacker broke into a random house and found Yael asleep with her two youngest children. Yael's older daughters were asleep in their own room, and her husband, a career army officer, was not home at the time.

Startled by the terrorist, Yael leapt to her feet only to be knocked back down and attacked.

"He threw me on the bed and jumped on me with the knife," Yael told Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper. "I thought to myself that now I was going to experience what it was like to be stabbed, like all those people I had heard about on the news."

It is important to remember that Yael's two younger children were in the bed with her while this was happening, watching a man attack and stab their mother.

Yael said she struggled hard, knowing that if she surrendered her children would be next. Her yells and violent resistance eventually succeeded in driving off the terrorist.

"I don't see myself as a hero," Yael stated. "I did what I needed to do to protect my children."

Both Yael and her father said the incident immediately brought back memories of last year's massacre of a Jewish family in the northern Samaria community of Itamar.

Following the struggle, Yael called a neighbor who is also an army officer and member of the local security team. Before he could arrive, the terrorist fled the scene, only to be tracked down by the IDF a mile away and shot dead.

The infiltration and near-deadly attack was seen as a grave security failure by the IDF's Southern Command. Reportedly, soldiers who were supposed to be monitoring the area were elsewhere as the army demobilized following the recent Gaza war.

The Southern Command took full responsibility for the failure.

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