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The Israeli general has witnessed the horror of Hamas attacks.Now, he encourages people to stay optimistic

When Hamas attacks, Yair Golan rescues people trapped in the Nova Festival.

Ayman Oghanna is at NPR

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Ayman Oghanna is at NPR

When Hamas attacks, Yair Golan rescues people trapped in the Nova Festival.

Ayman Oghanna is at NPR

On the morning that Hamas attacked Israel, Yair Golan, a former Israeli member of parliament and major general in the country’s military reserves, sprang into action.

Now, a month later, he told NPR that the message he wanted to spread was one of optimism: “We need to focus now, not on revenge, but on building — rebuilding our country.”

who is he? Golan was a member of the Israeli Knesset until last year. His party belongs to the left-wing political wing.

  • Golan took part in recent large-scale street protests against the far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • He has five sons, ranging in age from 34 to 19 years old. The youngest son will join the Israeli army this month, meaning all five sons will serve.

What happened? When Golan read about the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, he got in his car and drove to the attacked areas around the Nova Music Festival to see how he could help.

  • First, Golan’s sister asked him to pick up three people who had fled the festival. She sent him their location on Google Maps, and when he found them, they were hiding in the bushes.
  • He took two more calls and went back and forth two more times to get people out.
  • The third time he went to pick someone up, he said, he was closer to the festival. “As I was driving along the road, suddenly I realized the horror because there were bodies on the roadside,” Golan said.

What is he saying? Golan was interviewed All circumstances have been considered Host Mary Louise Kelly in Israel this week.

Here’s what he said about being called a “hero” by the Israeli media:

I can tell you that it’s not a matter of modesty: it’s less dangerous than relatively other things I’ve done in my life. I fought a lot. I managed to question a lot of people who actually fought terrorists. Kibbutz, village, town. I can tell you, if you want to be brave, look to them, not me.

On how he talks to his sons about their military service:

You have to consider every word because if you give advice that could be fatal, you’ll carry it with you for the rest of your life. So it’s a very cautious discussion for me.

And why he clings to hope and joy:

Well, we need to live and we need to get back to normal as soon as possible. You know, I learned that from my dad. My father was born in Germany and fled the country when he was five, along with half his family who were executed by the Nazis. He kept telling me that we have to focus on building, not being sad, not, you know, all kinds of negativity. We must be optimistic. I think this is a lesson that has guided me through my adult life. We need more than optimism. We need to build that optimism. We need to work hard to convince ourselves and others that we can do something really, really good. And, you know, I look at the country of Israel. We did some amazing things. We need to focus now, not on revenge, but on building – rebuilding our country. This is a real political goal.

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