Two friends of a singer-songwriter who was killed in the Hamas attack have paid tribute to a ‘pure heart’ who played a motherly role.
Mor Gabay, 30, died after the terrorists infiltrated the Zikim beach area where she and friends from a bar she worked at had gathered for a party.
The group of around 20 young people had camped out overnight on the sands, around three kilometres north of the Gaza Strip on the Israeli coast.
Mor left around 10 minutes before the rest of the party heard explosions in the first moments of the Hamas-led mass incursion early on Saturday.
Ariel Ein-Gal and another of her friends, Ahiad Ben-Yitzchak, wrote a tribute remembering her kindness and vowing to avenge her death.
They said: ‘Mor was a kind person. She was everyone’s mother; from making food in our pub for every customer and worker to food for her students and neighbours after finishing nine-hour shifts.
‘She was an artist, she wrote songs and poems and dreamt of publishing a poetry book. She had about 10 dogs in her house, each one was loved by her equally and she still had so much love inside her for everyone else.
‘She was our dearest friend, you could tell her anything and she always listened and replied with kindness, not judgment.’
Mor had spent the night with fellow workers from the Mileva pub, which is located in her home city of Be’er Sheva, around a 76km drive south-east of Zikim beach. The cook is thought to have left the end-of-season and Jewish New Year party early to return to her parents’ home in the city.
Her friends found her empty, bullet-riddled car in the middle of a nearby road and were later told that a policeman who was first on scene had removed her body. Her funeral was held on Tuesday.
Ariel, 26 and Ahiad, 29, who are also from Be’er Sheva, managed to escape in a group who broke out of the resort area in three cars while under heavy fire from Hamas gunmen. The militants, who are thought to have landed on the beach despite its sea defences designed to prevent such incursions, had apparently murdered policemen and used their patrol cars for the ambush.
The friends also vowed to avenge Mor’s death.
They said: ‘Our friend was a cancer survivor who was optimistic beyond belief. Mori, we’re missing you dearly.
‘We can’t believe we’re talking about you in past tense.
‘As the Lord is our witness, we promise we will avenge your untimely death.
‘Love you always.’
Ariel and Ahiad told this week how they were woken by explosions before taking shelter between two containers on the beach, where they saw gunmen in three rubber dinghies approaching the coast.
They fled as bullets raked the sand and hid in the perimeter of a nearby military base before making a break in an advance party travelling in three vehicles as the sound of gun and rocket fire grew closer.
Ahiad suffered a gunshot wound to his left leg as the terrorists opened fire before the two cars and an SUV reached Israeli military and medical personnel further inland.
Ahiad added: ‘Mor had a pure heart and I will never forget the first thing she told me when I met her on a shift: “Wow man you have such beautiful eyes, my name is Mor, how are you?”
‘She had the nicest smile and always had the nicest things to say to people.
‘She made you feel special and wanted.’
Israeli singer Ziv Na’aman has paid tribute to Mor, whose Instagram page shows pictures of her singing, by covering a song she wrote.
The song includes the words: ‘I didn’t choose the way, I didn’t know the roads, yet, I always knew, if we fall we will stand again.’
The Israeli military said yesterday that more than 1,300 people have been killed in the country, with more than 3,000 people wounded. The Gaza Ministry of Health said that more than 1,500 people have been killed in Jerusalem’s retaliatory strikes, with more than 6,600 others wounded.
Israel has imposed a blockade of food, fuel and electricity into the Palestinian territory ahead of an expected ground offensive.
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