Peres Center awards female heroes of October 7 and the Hamas war

Among the recipients are those who provided service to the state of Israel through hasbara and Israel advocacy. Recipients also included health professionals and IDF soldiers.

 Recipients of the awards at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, February 28, 2024.  (photo credit: Daniel Nafusi)
Recipients of the awards at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, February 28, 2024.
(photo credit: Daniel Nafusi)

The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation awarded the Medal of Distinction to heroines of October 7 in recognition of their “extraordinary courage and resilience” on Wednesday in a ceremony for International Women’s Day. 

The winners of the awards included Yardenah Arazi, Ilana Dayan, Noa Tishby, Batya Ofer, Lorina Khatib Kizel, Dr. Kokhav Elka'im Levi, Nurses for Peace, Esnat Peri, Dr. Efrat Baron Harlev, and Inbal Shevach Sharvit, among others. 

The award ceremony featured a performance by Michal, sister of Sergeant (res.) Shaul Greenlik, who fell in combat in Gaza, accompanied by Israeli artist, Yardenah Arazi's performance of her song "Home," which has become an anthem of resilience and strength during the war.

Several of the award recipients spoke at the event. Osnat Perry, a resident of Kibbutz Nir Oz, who led the construction of a rehabilitation and recovery plan for the Kibbutz, said, “These days we, the bruised and grieving people of Nir Oz, are trying to recover and see a future. But this will not be able to happen before all the hostages return home. If you meet or hear about people from Nir Oz today, know that each and every one of them is a story of heroism, courage and resourcefulness, who managed to survive the inferno and, in many cases, also save others. Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, the knighthood I received today belongs to all the people of my community, the Nir Oz community, the brave and dear ones”.

Ilana Dayan is a journalist who has told the stories of Israelis in this war, including the heroes, hostages, residents of border communities, and the soldiers, as well as investigative articles on the failures that led to the disaster. She expressed hope for the future of the country and called for more unity between the people who make the country better. 

 Tank commanders, including Hagar, Hila, Tal, Sarah, Michal, Karni, Ophir, and Tamar. (credit: PERES CENTER FOR PEACE AND INNOVATION)
Tank commanders, including Hagar, Hila, Tal, Sarah, Michal, Karni, Ophir, and Tamar. (credit: PERES CENTER FOR PEACE AND INNOVATION)

Sgt. Reshit spoke on behalf of the tank commanders who were recipients of an award. They fought in the battle of Reim on October 7, during which they killed dozens of terrorists threatening nearby kibbutzim. She said, “We woke up to voices calling for help, and the company's answer came immediately, when we didn't know what we would meet. It is an honor for me to stand here with our female warriors and receive the award… From time immemorial, all we wanted was to protect the people of Israel, and we will continue to do so”.

Dr. Kochav Elkaim-Levy specializes in international law, gender, and human rights defense. She leads the Civil Ombudsman for Gender Crimes committed by Hamas against women, men, and children on October 7. She said at the event, “October 7th is not over yet, certainly not for those who are documenting what happened. Little by little I realized that this is our mission, and dealing with the unimaginable denial is complex, but it is a privilege to give a voice to the victims and to those whose voices are silenced. It is a mission that requires courage, and I am proud of those around me. I want to say to the victims - we are with you and know and believe you, and to all those whose voices are silent - we will not be silent. We are here to continue the fight and we will not give up on the future that is intertwined with pain and hope”.

Additional award recipients

Among the recipients are those who provided significant service to the state of Israel through hasbara and Israel advocacy, including Noa Tishby, Lilach Logan, Ella Keinan, and Lorena Khateeb-Kizel, a Druze woman, who provides educational activities in the Arab world.

Additionally, Brigadier General Shifra Buchris was awarded, who, with her team, traveled back and forth from the Reim party to the evacuation point for 12 hours without being called. They saved those who faced death and evacuated severely wounded individuals, all while risking their lives, facing immense danger. 

Another Brigadier General who was awarded was Shoshana Mali, a veteran police officer in Sderot, who defended the town in combat with terrorists on the morning of October 7, until the moment of evacuation, in order to save as many lives as possible. 

Professor Karin Nahon established and led the Missing and Captive Unit in the Civilian Homefront Command volunteer group, where she was responsible for dealing with families of those missing while mapping out the stories and details. The information she collected was passed to government officials after the first month. 

Dr. Hagar Mizrahi is head of the medical division and chairman of the medical committee which assesses the condition of the hostages. 

Sisters in Arms treat the wounded, help in locating the missing, provide food for soldiers, and equipment for the evacuees, and help farms that do not have enough workers. .

Dr. Efrat Baron-Harlev is the director of the Schneider Children's Medical Center, where mothers and children released from Hamas captivity were admitted. 

Attorneys Hanan Alsana and Shir Nosetsky formed a Jewish-Arab support network in Rahat, which will assist Jewish and Arab families from the South who have been affected by October 7. The network was established in collaboration with several other organizations in Rahat. 

Inbal Shevach Sharvit established 'Inbal's Home Front Command', which ensured and continues to ensure food and equipment for soldiers and evacuees to this day. 

Dr. Yaffa Nahumi established a central Haredi charity that assists the Israeli military front, both in food and supplies donations and in the operation of a system assisting families in escorts and in mourning. In addition, Nahumi established a team dealing with procurement and movement of equipment for soldiers. 

Since October 7, Sharit Weisengrin has begun managing the resilience center in Eilat. 

A former hostage, Maya Regev also spoke at the ceremony, and said, “I was so moved by the women who came today. I want to say in the same breath that the real knights and knights are the ones who are sitting in these moments in captivity, waiting to be rescued.”