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Hero Israeli tank commander killed after storming Hamas terrorists, saving civilians | Fox News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  kavika  •  7 months ago  •  20 comments

By:   Ruth Marks Eglash (Fox News)

Hero Israeli tank commander killed after storming Hamas terrorists, saving civilians | Fox News
Lt. Col. Salman Habaka is part of Israel's minority Druze community, a monotheistic religion that incorporates elements of all Abrahamic religions and several other philosophies.

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FOX News' Trey Yingst reports the latest on the war against Hamas from southern Israel.

JERUSALEM - An Israeli tank commander from the country's minority Druze community, who was killed in combat in Gaza, should serve as a symbol for all Israelis that in order to defeat darkness the country must unite, the father of the soldier, the highest-ranking military officer to be killed so far, told Fox News Digital.

Lt. Col. Salman Habaka was hailed as a hero following Hamas' surprise mass terror attack in Israel on Oct. 7 after commandeering two tanks and heading to battle thousands of Palestinian terrorists even before his own commanders realized what was happening. Less than four weeks later, on Nov. 2, Habaka, 33, was killed in action by a Hamas sniper as Israeli forces deepened their ground incursion into Gaza.

Stories of heroic acts committed by Israelis in stopping Hamas terror atrocities have shone a spotlight on some of the country's minority communities who also played their part in preventing more terror. Israel's non-Jewish population is around 20%, including Muslim, Christian and Druze, an esoteric, monotheistic religion that incorporates elements of all Abrahamic religions and other philosophies.

"On the morning of Oct. 7, we had a family event planned," Habaka's father, Emad Habaka, told Fox News Digital from his home in the Druze village of Yanuh Jat, in northern Israel. "I called him to check if it was still going ahead but he told me that he had to go back to his base immediately. When I asked him why, he just told me to turn on the TV."

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On Nov. 2, Lt. Col. Salman Habaka, 33, was killed in action by a Hamas sniper as Israeli forces deepened their ground incursion into Gaza.

While the elder Habaka, like most other Israelis, was still trying to figure out what was happening in southern Israel, along the border with the Gaza Strip, his son - already a decorated IDF commander - was speeding to his base in the Negev desert to retrieve his tank.

"He somehow understood what was going on and even though he received no orders from his commanders, he decided to get his tank and head into battle," said the father, 60, describing Salman, a father of one, as a modest and respectful person who always did whatever he could to help other people.

Hamas terrorists left Kibbutz Be'eri, a village near Gaza, in ruin.(Tomer Peretz)

According to Salman's own retelling a few days after Hamas' day-long rampage through southern Israel, murdering more than 1,400 people - civilians and soldiers - and taking some 240 people hostage, he rushed from his home, also in Yanuh-Jat, to join the fighting.

"I drove from the Galilee to a base near Tze'elim in order to get the tank and reach the community as quickly as possible to save every soul I could," he recounted to Israeli media outlets.

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Lt. Col. Salman Habaka with his mother, Mawaheb, and brother Tamer.(Family of Lt. Col. Salman Habaka)

Arriving at Kibbutz Be'eri - one of the communities worst hit by Hamas terrorists - Habaka said he joined the other soldiers fighting there.

"I saw Col. Barak Hiram and the first thing he ordered me to do was to fire a tank round into the house," Habaka told Israeli media. "The first question you ask yourself is whether there are civilian hostages in the house. We conducted all the preliminary actions before deciding to fire into the house, but as soon as we fired into that house, we were able to move from house to house and free the hostages. The fighting continued until evening, within the kibbutz's streets."

Later, Habaka said that what stayed with him was how cowardly the terrorists were, taking over civilian communities on a Jewish holiday in order to "murder, slaughter and abduct elderly people and infants."

Israeli tanks head toward the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel on Oct. 12, ahead of an anticipated ground incursion.(AP/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Heading into Gaza a few weeks later, Habaka told the soldiers under his command that he expected "the Israeli people to continue standing united, to continue to be resilient because only together will we know our strength."

The Israeli Druze community live in numerous villages dotted across northern Israel. They have had a presence in the region for at least a thousand years, and their communities are also found in Lebanon, Syria and parts of Jordan.

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Salman, his wife, Arin, with friends. Salman supported Israeli soccer team Maccabi Haifa.(Family of Lt. Col. Salman Habaka)

Roughly 8% of Israel's Arab minority, which is roughly 20% of the country's population of 9 million, Druze are fiercely loyal to whichever state they live, and in Israel, most of the men serve in the military under a compulsory enlistment law.

However, because the Druze speak Arabic, follow some Islamic practices, and have Arabic-sounding names, Jewish Israelis often confuse them with Israel's mainly Muslim Arab minority and, in the past, especially during periods of high tension between Israelis and Palestinians, they face some discrimination.

Emad Habaka said that following Hamas' brutal attack, it was time for attitudes in Israel toward the Druze, and other minorities, to change.

"We are all citizens of Israel," Emad Habaka told Fox. "We invest in this country, and we give our best sons up to fight in the army. There needs to be more focus on equality between Jews and other groups."

"My son believed that the only way to defeat our enemies, the only way to defeat darkness, was to fight together," Habaka said. "This is a strong message to all the people of Israel."

Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Fox that the Druze had a special place in the cultural, religious and ethnic mosaic that is Israel.

ISRAEL'S MILITARY COULD ENTER GAZA CITY, THE CAPITAL OF THE HAMAS-RULED GAZA STRIP, THIS WEEK: ISRAELI MEDIA

Salman pictured here with his son. Salman's father said while he is destroyed by his son's death, he also said he has found comfort in the fact that he died a hero.(Family of Lt. Col. Salman Habaka)

"I've had the privilege of knowing a number of Druze soldiers serving in the IDF," he said. "They are courageous fighters and loyal patriots. Lt. Col. Salman Habaka lived and died as a hero. His memory is a blessing to his community and to all of Israel."

While the elder Habaka said he is destroyed by his son's death, he has found comfort knowing Salman died a hero. In the week since Salman was killed, his father described an outpouring of condolence calls from top military officials and some of the country's leadership, as well as many of those he saved from Kibbutz Be'eri.

"He killed many of the terrorists and history will remember what he did there," said Habaka, adding, "It took us two or three days to really understand what he did on Oct. 7… He went there based on instinct and he took his soldiers to save lives, I was so proud of him, only heroes do things like that."

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Asked how he views the ongoing conflict - especially as Israeli forces move deeper into Gaza and more soldiers and civilians stand to die - Habaka told Fox: "We did not choose this war, it was forced on us and we need to do whatever we can to protect the State of Israel."

"I really hope that we can win this war, bring back the hostages being held in Gaza, and bring back peace," he said.

Col. Habaka leaves behind a wife and two year old son.

Ruth Marks Eglash is a veteran journalist based in Jerusalem, Israel. She reports and covers the Middle East and Europe. Originally from the U.K, she has also freelanced for numerous news outlets. Ruth can be followed on Twitter @reglash


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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     7 months ago

I've posted articles on the Bedouin and Palestine minorities in Israel who fight side by side with the IDF and have for decades. There are other minorities that are intricate to the mosaic that makes up Israel one of those groups are the Druze.

Most Americans are probably not familiar with the minorities in Israel and their value to the country and many are also citizens of Israel. The Druze like the Bedouin are very unique and fiercely loyal to Israel.

This is a link to an excellent article describing the Druze as a people and religion. It is well worth the read. 

Israeli Druze in the IDF. That is the Druze flag wrapped around them.

512

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
2  Krishna    7 months ago

There are so many minorities in the area. Some are members of religions that most Americans have never heard about. IIRC, the Druze live mainly in Israel and neighbouring Lebanon as well as a few in other countries mentioned in the article. . I they they started out as Muslims-- just another denomination or sect. But soon the changed their beliefs (or maybe it was just that people looked at them differently)-- but now they are not considered to be Muslim but rather a distinct religion.

They are very patriotic. They have a very high enlistment rate in the IDF. They tend to be very brave and very effective fighters.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
2.1  Krishna  replied to  Krishna @2    7 months ago

P,S: I researched the Druze many years ago. One of the things I remember generally (although I've forgotten most of the details) is that there a few colors that have great significance in the Druze religion. (I think 5 colors but forget the details) Which is why if you look at the above picture, it doesn't look like most flags-- I believe it has more colors.)

I'm not sure about it, but it looks like one of them has some color on his face. If so the Druze probably created that on their own, but interestingly there is a holiday (HOLI) in much of South Asia (India, Pakistan, and probably Sri Lanka) where people put colors on their face and clothes.  i have an Indian-American friend that once showed up at a meeting with colors all over his face..

If memory serves, Holi  was originally a Hindu holiday, but several other "minor' religions in India also celebrate it: Sikhs (A different religion than Hinduism but with many similarities) and Jains. It may also be celebrated by Muslims in the area (India, Pakistan, Bengladesh, etc)

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @2.1    7 months ago

The colors of their flag have great significance. The Druze believe in five cosmic principles represented by the five-colored Druze star.

They have a very high enlistment rate in the IDF. They tend to be very brave and very effective fighters.

As can be seen by Col. Habaka actions.

I did an article a few days ago on the Bedouin in the IDF. 

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
2.1.2  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @2.1.1    7 months ago

I did an article a few days ago on the Bedouin in the IDF. 

Looks interesting I will check it out later.

A while back when I was researching the Middle East I was amazed at how many different ancient cultures and  religions there are in the area, A few are dying out-- in some cases only a few hundered people (or less) still exist.

Two that came to many peoples' awareness (because of the war against Iraq) are the Kurds, and the Yazidis. (The Yazidis claim they are totally unique but I believe that they were originally Kurds), Saddam tried to exterminate them, but the Kurds came to their defense.

The Yazidis have a very, very unusual religion. They are quite peaceful, but in many countries they are persecuted.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @2.1.2    7 months ago

The Yazadi came to my attention during the Iraq war, quite an interesting group and you are correct the Kurds came to their rescue and got them off the mountain to safety. 

I think most Americans would be shocked to know that there are around 200,000 Israeli Kurds in Israel.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
2.1.4  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @2.1.3    7 months ago
I think most Americans would be shocked to know that there are around 200,000 Israeli Kurds in Israel.

I think they were originally all Muslims, but some become Christians, some became Jews.The degree of persecution of Jews in much of the Arab world changes from time to time. But since the re-creation of the Jewish state (1948) Jews in the Arab world have a plave to go to to be (relatively) safe.

I've read there's a saying in the area: 

The Kurds are (mainly) Muslim, but they take their religion lightly.

No jihads, etc.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.5  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @2.1.4    7 months ago

This is where it gets interesting/complex, The Yemeni Jews and the Ethiopian Jews of Israel and their history. Or the Circaussion of Israel, some are Orthodox Christian, some Pagan, and some Sunni Muslim, most have blonde or red hair and blue eyes and light skin. 

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
3  Drakkonis    7 months ago

I wonder if any of the protesters who support Hamas or think they are some kind of brave freedom fighters ever compare the "heroics" of those depraved beasts with the men and women of the IDF? They probably don't even know about the sacrifices made by Lt. Col. Habaka and the many others like them. And as hard as our media has tried to make a boogeyman out of white supremacists, people who can get behind something like Hamas, who are the real deal when it comes to pure hate, truly do make me very uneasy. I see them out there, cosplaying Palestinians and Hamas terrorists and wonder how far might they be willing to take it? Since most or at least, quite many seem to be university students, I have to wonder just how far off the right path those institutions have gone. More than I had realized, it seems. What the hell happened to us that we can be so divided over this? 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Drakkonis @3    7 months ago

How people can support Hamas is beyond me. I can understand the Palestinians plight but cannot understand worldwide support for Hamas and Hezbollah.

I think that most of the students have little to no knowledge of the history of the Jews and are only aware of the last few years of their history.

Piss poor excuse but it's the only thing that I can come up with.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
3.1.1  Drakkonis  replied to  Kavika @3.1    7 months ago
I think that most of the students have little to no knowledge of the history of the Jews and are only aware of the last few years of their history. Piss poor excuse but it's the only thing that I can come up with.

I think that's part of it, but I think there's more, deeper reasons. Hard to find the right words, though. 

Western thought cannot be separated from Christianity. I'm not stating that the West is a Christian entity but I doubt one could find a credible historian who would argue the contrary. Christianity shaped Western thinking tremendously and would not be what it is without it. 

Today, though, there is a concerted effort to change how the West thinks. Everything from historical revisionism to postmodernism, deconstructionism, moral relativism and similar things. Combine that with consumerism, where we are constantly bombarded with the idea that happiness means we have to have more and better and we must do anything to get it. That, somehow, by merely existing, you have a right to those things. There are a number of other things I could list, but I expect you get the gist. 

From my perspective, what I see is each successive generation being less satisfied with the world and life than the one before it because none of those things satisfy what really matters to the soul. People want to have purpose, not stuff. People want to do what has meaning, not endlessly acquire things that don't ultimately satisfy. They want to know where they stand in the world and where the world stands in relation to them. They want to know where the solid ground is. 

They don't have that, now. They don't have that solid ground because there seems to be an effort to make sure there is none. America is more racist now than ever, for instance. Men can have babies. Men can be women and vice versa. Changing the meaning of words so that nonsense is more acceptable. Punishing crime doesn't work. And so on and so on. 

So, I think you're right about not knowing the history, but I also think that they sense this issue is important. It has meaning. They feel good about doing something that needs doing. It gives them a meaning and purpose they didn't have before and it makes them feel something, anything, other than the constant feeling of being adrift in a world where there's no solid ground to stand on because others are intent on taking it away. 

So, on one level, I can understand why they are supporting Hamas, but on another, even as adrift as I think most of these people are, I don't think it quite explains that even they can miss the egregious evil of Hamas. Hamas is literally representative of every evil they've been railing against for years. They are so disconnected from reality that I really worry about where they would draw the line on what they wouldn't do. 

P.S. I think all of this is due to elements in the West who are actively trying to divorce the West from Christian ideals, or Ideals that have Christian underpinnings, if you prefer. This isn't incidental. Christian thinking is the intentional target. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.2  JohnRussell  replied to  Kavika @3.1    7 months ago
I think that most of the students have little to no knowledge of the history of the Jews and are only aware of the last few years of their history.

That is about 99% of it, in my opinion. To these students Israel is big guy squashing the little guy. They understand almost nothing of history. 

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1.3  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @3.1    7 months ago
I think that most of the students have little to no knowledge of the history of the Jews and are only aware of the last few years of their history.

There are probably several contributing factors. But experience of colleges and Universities is that there standards are very, very low. Also, if a tenured professor does outrageous stuff--- its almost impossible to get rid of them.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1.4  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @3.1    7 months ago
I think that most of the students have little to no knowledge of the history of the Jews and are only aware of the last few years of their history.

I saw an interesting reel online. It was sort of humorous but there was a lot of truth in it, It was advice to Jews as how they could stop Gen Z and younger Millennials from hating them:

It gave 2 pieces of advice to Jews who wanted to stop being hated:

1. Stop being White.

2. Stop being Successful.

(Yes this is satire, but there's some truth to it).

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1.5  Krishna  replied to  Drakkonis @3.1.1    7 months ago
P.S. I think all of this is due to elements in the West who are actively trying to divorce the West from Christian ideals, or Ideals that have Christian underpinnings, if you prefer. This isn't incidental. Christian thinking is the intentional target.

I think that's basically true. But it includes Christianity but goes even beyond that-- its a denial of anything spiritual. In favor of superficial pleasures-- especially materialism. And glorification of the Ego.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1.6  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Drakkonis @3.1.1    7 months ago
I don't think it quite explains that even they can miss the egregious evil of Hamas. Hamas is literally representative of every evil they've been railing against for years. They are so disconnected from reality that I really worry about where they would draw the line on what they wouldn't do. 

To see and hear what Hamas is doing and has done and still support them is mind-boggling. How do they wipe away the horror of Hamas? To support the Palestinian people is one thing but to support Hamas is a break from reality.

P.S. I think all of this is due to elements in the West who are actively trying to divorce the West from Christian ideals, or Ideals that have Christian underpinnings, if you prefer. This isn't incidental. Christian thinking is the intentional target.

I don't agree with this, Drakk. Christians have over the centuries done some pretty horrible things as have the Muslims. There are many religions in the world that are very peaceful and have different thought processes. If Christian thinking is the target could it be from their controlling leaders and the inability to change in a different world? I do not see having Christian Ideals or thinking as a basis for having a moral compass.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1.7  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @3.1.3    7 months ago

The college experience can be part of the problem but there are thousands of students that are not deluded into this thinking that are attending the same school and classes.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4  Perrie Halpern R.A.    7 months ago

Really interesting article. I didn't know much about the Druze, and it seems they don't either, which is kind of unique. Their beliefs that they adhere to though, is very honorable. It seems that like Jews, they don't encourage conversion, and so this might be something that they found akin with each other. Their bravery is known throughout the area, and in that way, you have to admire them.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    7 months ago
they don't encourage conversion, and so this might be something that they found akin with each other.

Not only do they not encourage it, they flat-out reject it. I found it interesting that they rarely marry outside of their religion and of course, the Arab/non-Arab thing is again very interesting. I think that Israel is damn lucky to have the Druze and Bedouins as allies.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
4.2  Krishna  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    7 months ago
It seems that like Jews, they don't encourage conversion, and so this might be something that they found akin with each other.

And possibly another thing Druze and Jews have in common-- as minorities in the Arab world, they both have experienced periods of time where both groups were persecuted.

 
 

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