Survivors share accounts of Hamas attacks
Convocation began Wednesday with worship from LU Praise, Liberty University’s multi-ethnic gospel choir, as well as the Worship Collective.
Following worship, Chancellor Jonathan Falwell introduced brothers Jonathan and Ido Lulu-Shamriz, survivors of Hamas’ attack on Israel Oct. 7. The brothers were also joined onstage with former Liberty Campus Pastor Johnnie Moore, who serves as a commissioner for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
“The atrocities are incomprehensible, so what happened on Oct. 7 is a test as to whether you recognize good or evil,” Moore said. “As Christians, I think it’s essential … that we of all people recognize good and evil and that we say it when we see it.”
Jonathan Lulu-Shamriz spoke about what life was like prior to the Oct. 7 attack, describing it as “95% heaven, 5% hell.”
“Kibbutz was like a small campus. … Everyone is your father, your mother, your child, your brother,” Jonathan Lulu-Shamriz said. “Most of the time, it was peaceful.”
On the morning of Oct. 7, Ido Lulu-Shamriz, part of the kibbutz’s civilian squad, woke up in his home to alarms and missiles going off.
“When I heard the alarm, I woke up and took my stuff to the shelter, where we picked up our guns and tried to protect the kibbutz,” Ido Lulu-Shamriz said. “We met dozens of terrorists armed with RPGs, grenades, everything. We tried our best with our 14 members against hundreds until we (couldn’t) do it anymore. I tried to rescue myself while my seven friends were killed.”
Ido Lulu-Shamriz fought directly against terrorists while his brother Jonathan stayed in their family’s safe room with his wife and daughter, whose birthday was the same day as the attack.
“I managed to grab a birthday cake and some water,” Jonathan Lulu-Shamriz said. “As soon as we got to the safe room, I got the message from Ido, who said they called them to take the guns because of a terrorist attack on kibbutz.”
Jonathan’s phone rang out continuously throughout the attack with messages from friends and family. One was a message from his brother Alon. Alon’s text read that terrorists were inside his house, and this was the last time that Jonathan Lulu-Shamriz heard from him, as he was taken hostage by the terrorists.
“When you wake up, you imagine how did Alon sleep at night,” Jonathan Lulu-Shamriz said. “When you eat, you ask yourself if Alon got bread and if he’s drinking water. Everything you do, you think about Alon. You think about what they are doing to him.”
Moore reminded the brothers of Liberty’s stance of being pro-Israel compared to other universities. He asked the brothers what it’s like seeing other universities take the opposite stance.
“I think they have tunnel vision,” Jonathan Lulu-Shamriz said. “If you’re a student, … you should always question yourself and your surroundings. Seek for the truth and stand for what is right.”
Convocation closed with the announcement of an opportunity for students to join the March for Israel on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14.
“You need to stand for what is right,” Jonathan Lulu-Shamriz said. “You need to do it now. We have no time.”
Smith is the editor-in-chief for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X