Grace Cabrerra

Age:45
Citizen

Grace Cabrerra, a nurse from the Philippines, was devoted to Aviva Sela, one of the founders of Kibutz Be’eri, for about four years. She cared for her endlessly and with great love. To Sela’s family, Grace was another family member, and they never imagined her loyalty would cost her life.

“At six in the morning of that fateful Saturday, Grace and Avivh awoke to constant red alert warnings,” recounts Osnat Weinberg, Sela’s daughter. “They knew terrorists had infiltrated the kibbutz. We asked her to move Aviva to the shelter and lock the door behind them. From inside the shelter, she updated us about Aviva and the happenings outside, even hearing gunshots. Later, she wrote that terrorists had broken into the house, that there were many of them searching for something. She ended her message with ‘Help me.’ We advised her to stay quiet and hold the door firmly. We tried to reassure her, telling her the army would soon arrive to rescue them. For hours, she held the shelter door to prevent the terrorists from entering.”

At 11:24, they lost contact with Grace. Around 12:00, her sister called her. Someone answered the phone and then quickly disconnected. She heard someone crying in the background. We believe it was Grace, but there’s no way to know for sure. The rest of the information was pieced together from testimonies. It turns out the terrorists didn’t shoot them when they finally opened the shelter; instead, they took them to the balcony. Aviva’s spacious balcony was used as a sort of command center by the terrorists. They used it to gather items and the wounded, mainly concentrating their forces there.

One of the kibbutz members, brought in to act as a human shield, saw Aviva and Grace there. Aviva sat on a bench swing, and Grace was beside her with folded hands. At one point, Grace asked the terrorists for permission to dress Aviva, still in her nightgown. After getting approval, she asked a severely wounded woman for help, as she couldn’t do it alone with her hands tied.
When they entered the house, Grace seized the opportunity and placed all of Aviva’s medication in the walker’s basket, along with fruit and a change of shirt. Her presence of mind, wisdom, and intention for Aviva’s well-being were extraordinary.

Later, the terrorists led the hostages along the road, and then Grace’s traces were lost. It is believed that the terrorists simply shot her. Nearly two weeks later, security forces informed the family that her body had been identified.

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