A mother massacred by terrorists in Israel, alongside her husband and three young children, sent a final WhatsApp message to her Australian friends to tell them her family was safe.
Tamar Kedem-Siman Tov texted her friends in Sydney, named Yishai and Mor Lacob, from the concrete bunker of her home on Kibbutz Nir Oz in southern Israel on Saturday around 2:45 p.m.
The message read: “Hey guys, we entered the shelter of our house, everything is ok.”
An hour later, she no longer responds to calls and texts.
The Lacobs began to panic and tried to contact everyone they knew in the village to find out what was happening, before receiving the heartbreaking news that the Tov’s safe had been hacked by militants.
Tamar, her husband Johnny, their six-year-old daughters Shahar and Arbel, and their two-year-old son Omer were murdered by Hamas-linked terrorists.
Tamar Kedem-Siman with her husband Johnny and their daughters Shahar and Arbel, aged six, and their son Omer, aged two. They were murdered on Saturday
A mock-up of the last WhatsApp message Tamar Kedem-Siman Tov sent to her friends in Sydney
“Our hearts are broken,” Yishai wrote on Facebook Monday.
“An entire family was killed by evil murderers who shot the children and parents simply because they were Jewish.
“And this is just one story among many. It’s unbearable.’
Nir Oz is an agricultural village of around 400 inhabitants located three kilometers from Gaza.
Despite its proximity to a conflict zone, Mor told the Sydney Morning Herald it was considered a peaceful place to live and raise a family.
“They wouldn’t have thought something like this could happen,” she said.
Tamar was a social activist campaigning to become head of the Eshkol regional council in Israel’s Southern District.
“She was such a special woman,” Mor told the publication.
“She always cared about the poor, she always made sure that people who were less fortunate had the same opportunities.
The family was hiding in a concrete bunker at their home in southern Israel before it was breached. Tamar (left) uploaded this photo four days ago
Friends flooded Facebook with tributes to young family (pictured)
“She was a living example of these values.”
Just four days ago, the mother of three posted photos from her election campaign on Facebook.
“Half-week roundup post, because even Facebook can’t track me during this vacation,” she wrote in an article translated from Hebrew to English on Thursday.
“The neighborhood speaks for itself – we want an attentive municipal president, who sees the residents – from the youngest to the oldest.”
It aimed to improve health, employment, safety and security across the region.
Her posts were flooded with messages of support on Thursday.
On Tuesday, they were overwhelmed with tributes.
“My heart is torn,” one person wrote.
Another said: “What a tragedy… I can’t believe it’s four days later.”
Pictured: Tamar and her husband Johnny, who were living in southern Israel when their village was attacked.
The attacks began around 6:30 a.m. Israeli time on Saturday, when thousands of Hamas rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel and as far as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
At the same time, hundreds of Palestinian militants paraglided across the heavily guarded border, while others stormed towns by boat or by blowing holes in the Gaza-Israel barrier.
They then went door to door shooting innocent civilians and soldiers before kidnapping more than 100 Israelis and taking them to Gaza.
In response, the Israeli military said Monday it struck more than 500 targets in the Gaza Strip in nightly retaliatory strikes against the impoverished and blockaded Gaza Strip, an enclave of 2.3 million people.
The authorities reported at least 413 Palestinian deaths.
In Australia, pro-Palestinian protesters were allowed to chant “gas the Jews” and burn the Star of David outside the Sydney Opera House on Monday evening.
Counter-protesters were arrested for attempting to fly the Israeli flag at the protest site.
Police are now being criticized for allowing the protest – while telling Australian Jews to “stay at home” for their own safety.