‘Light and life’: Brandeis professor was on the phone with daughter when she was killed in Israel

ISRAEL — “Deborah was a child of light and life.”

Brandeis University professor Ilan Troen is looking back at the moment his daughter, and son-in-law were killed in the Israel attacks.

“This is not a normal war. It isn’t like there’s a front and a rear. We were on the phone with Deborah as she was killed,” Troen said in a Monday morning interview with CNN. Troen’s son-in-law, Schlomi Matias, was also killed.

Troens 16-year-old grandson was also in Isreal and hid under his mother’s body for a brief time before moving to shelter and being found.

“We were on the phone the entire day with our son, our grandson, Rotem, as he lay first under her body and then found a place to escape under a blanket and in a laundry,” Troen told CNN.

Troen later clarified that he was texting with Rotem as he was told “not to speak.”

“He was told not to speak and therefore he was to hide and use texting,” Troen said. “By the time he was rescued, he had 4% left in his battery.”

Troen provided details on how his home in Israel has a bomb shelter and that his daughter’s family went to the safe room in their house when the attack came, but the attacks didn’t stop.

“This was an unbelievably well-prepared attack on a civilian population. It was not an attack of military against military, and so it was planned and that’s gonna be our problem going forward with hostages. The Hamas want hostages, they planned on having hostages, and how we deal with that is a conundrum. Very few other countries have ever dealt with successfully.”

Rotem is recovering from a gunshot wound. Troen said the bullet first hit his daughter.

“The brunt of the shot was borne by his mother,” Troen said.

“There was a chat that was invited to help him. That chat extended from Southern Israel up to the north. – It included people who were social workers, and a trauma specialist, telling him how to breathe and what to do with the bleeding, the blood that was coming out of his abdomen, and what actions might be helpful. Encouraging him, telling him “You’re a hero”.

“He’s 16, tough, resilient, he survived this, he’ll survive more but the trauma of this is going to last his lifetime,” Troen ended with.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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