Cindy Flash — a 67-year-old Minnesota native — and her 66-year-old husband, Igal Flash, were among more than 1,300 people murdered by Saturday’s brutal Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.
Flash’s family described her as a “staunch advocate for the rights of Palestinians” and an outspoken opponent of Israeli military action.
Cindy Flash hailed from St. Paul, Minnesota, while Igal Flash was the son of Holocaust survivors and an Israeli citizen. She relocated to the Kfar Aza kibbutz in southern Israel many years ago after visiting as a college student.
Her 34-year-old daughter, Keren Flash, told USA Today that Cindy loved the communal lifestyle of the kibbutzes, which began as collective farms but could now be more broadly described as close-knit small towns with a thousand residents or less. Kibbutz residents generally disdain private property, share in their labors, and perform tasks like child-rearing together.
Keren said her mother protested “whenever there was a military operation” conducted by Israel because she felt “you don’t treat human beings like that, no matter what their religious belief is and what their ethnicity is.”
“They were some of the best people that I have ever known,” Keren said of her parents. “They were good people. They cared about other people. They fought for other people’s rights and other people’s voices.”
Kfar Aza, located only a few miles from the Gaza border, was a sleepy town with about 750 residents. The savage Hamas attack left it littered with burned houses, destroyed cars, smashed furniture, and corpses. Kfar Aza is the kibbutz where around 40 murdered children and babies were discovered, some of them missing their heads.
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Obtaining a precise count of the dead has been difficult for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) because it fears some remaining structures could be booby-trapped. According to IDF spokespeople, the attackers smashed down the town’s gates with a heavy vehicle, possibly an earthmover, while a few of the killers soared over the fence with paragliders.
Once the gates were down, terrorists swarmed into the village on foot and riding motorcycles, slaughtering the residents with RPGs, hand grenades, and Kalashnikov rifles. Survivors report hiding in safe rooms for more than 20 hours until the IDF rescued them.
The Flashes were among those who withdrew into a safe room in their recently renovated home, located close to the security fence. The couple had only recently returned home after living elsewhere while the renovations were in progress. Keren said they had planned a picnic and kite-flying for Saturday afternoon.
Keren Flash, her husband, and her one-year-old child also lived in Kfar Aza. They ran into their own safe room and then used text messages and chat programs to communicate with other terrified residents, including Cindy Flash.
“We started losing contact with so many people on various WhatsApp groups. We would hear that they were wounded, and then they would just drop off completely,” Keren said.
One of Cindy’s last messages to her daughter presaged her fate: “They are breaking down the safe room door. We need someone to come by the house right now.”
At the time of Keren’s interview with USA Today on Wednesday, the whereabouts of Cindy and Igal were unknown. The Flash family was still desperately hoping they might have survived. Sadly, those hopes were dashed when the couple’s deaths were confirmed on Thursday.
Keren said she found some comfort in knowing that her parents “apparently died instantly, so at least it was quick and painless.”
“They were just a good balance of each other and really taught me what a loving and strong relationship should look like, and they were just my inspiration for everything,” she said.
Cindy Flash was a dual citizen of America and Israel, so she is currently one of 27 U.S. citizens known to have been murdered by Hamas, making it one of the deadliest attacks on Americans since 9/11.
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