Chaim Peri

Nir Oz

My husband Haim, age 79.5, is a father of five and grandfather of thirteen, peace activist and artist. He is a charming, captivating person who loves people and possesses a generous heart. He is a peace activist who regularly participates in activities and projects aimed at promoting coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. Haim is a member of the Road to Recovery association, volunteering to transport sick children from Gaza to Israel to receive medical treatment.

He came to Kibbutz Nir Oz after he graduated high school as part of a Nahal group of the Shomer Hatzair youth movement. He was a paratrooper, who fought in four Israeli wars, and served in the military until the age of 50. After retiring from the army, Haim, who is a very creative and artistic person (writer, sculptor and filmmaker) established and managed The White House art gallery in the fields of Nir Oz, which displayed the works of a diverse range of artists. The gallery was his personal ‘pet project’, founded out of his great love of art and artists.

In the early morning of Saturday, October 7, 2023, Haim and I rushed to our safe room. We soon realized from the messages we received from our neighbours on the kibbutz’s WhatsApp group that there was an attack, the scope of which we had never experienced before. Hamas terrorists broke into our home three times. First, they ransacked the house and caused a power outage, leaving Haim and me in complete darkness as we hid in a corner of our safe room, promising that whatever happened, we would stay together. The second time, one of the terrorists discovered and opened the reinforced safe room door and tried to enter, but Haim managed to repel him by pushing him out and closing the door. The third time, three terrorists entered the house and dragged Haim out of the safe room. The terrorists told him in English that they wouldn’t kill him if he didn’t ‘make trouble’ and if he went with them. Haim, realizing that they were not aware of anyone else in the safe room— I was crouched in the corner about two meters from them – quickly decided to go out with them, thus saving me from being discovered and taken hostage or worse. Haim’s cell phone was left behind, so it’s impossible to confirm when exactly he arrived in Gaza. Our family only received notification that Haim was alive and held by Hamas on Monday, October 23. This information was transmitted by a released hostage who saw him there.  

Interviewee: Osnat Perry, Haim’s wife

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