A disaster was averted on Monday when a mother of four managed to fend off a Palestinian attacker who had broken into her home after infiltrating Israel from the Gaza Strip.
The attacker was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers after he fled the woman’s house in the Gaza border community of Sde Avraham. Yael Matzpun, 39, was lightly wounded in the attack, which investigators initially believed to be nationalistically motivated but later said could have been criminally motivated. Matzpun struggled with the attacker, possibly saving the lives of her children, who were asleep in the adjacent room.
The burglar entered the family’s home through the back door around 3:50 a.m., armed with a knife and metal rod. Matzpun and her four children were asleep. Her husband was away on business. Danni Matzpun said, “After [the attacker] woke Yael and she became scared he would harm her and the children, she fought him hard, managed to push him into the shower room, get the kids into the safety room and then continued to fight the intruder while throwing everything she could get her hands on at him.”
While the intruder was stuck in the bathroom, Matzpun called a neighbor and her husband, who works in the defense establishment, and they called the community’s emergency first response unit to the home, along with an Israel Defense Forces unit stationed in the area. After realizing he was trapped, the attacker tried escaping through the bathroom window. During his escape attempt, Israeli soldiers arrived at the home and chased him on foot for about 1.5 kilometers (nearly a mile). They called on him to halt near the community’s greenhouse area, but he refused to comply, and was shot and killed.
“I’m very proud of my daughter,” said her father, Danni Matzpun. “In my eyes she’s a real hero. She managed, with a great deal of resourcefulness, to push the burglar into the shower, which is next to the bedroom, and then pushed the child’s bed up against the door to prevent him from escaping. Without her quick thinking, it could have ended very badly.”