When Words End: Ziv Koren’s Journey in the Aftermath of October 7th

October 11th, 2023 - Be'eri, Israel. EXCLUSIVE. A Zaka volunteer cries in the arms of an IDF soldier after are putting bodies of of Israeli victims in bags. Fifth day to the attack of Hamas on Israel. Starting early in the morning of October 7th, missiles were shot to Israel from Gaza while Hamas terrorists invade Israeli settlements around Gaza, murdering and kidnapping dozens, including hundreds of young participants at an outdoor party. Casualties count thus far is more than 1,000, injured - more than 2,500. (Ziv Koren/Polaris)
A Zaka volunteer cries in the arms of an IDF soldier in kibbutz Be'eri | Photo: Ziv Koren
Ziv Koren, one of the world's leading documentary photographers, captures the war from its earliest moments: "No one sent me on this mission. I do this out of a sense of duty and understanding that these are some of the toughest moments experienced by the State of Israel since its inception"

“I haven’t stopped for a second since the morning of October 7. I’ve been running between the affected settlements, inside Gaza, in hospitals, at funerals, with the families of the kidnapped – everywhere. Armed with a camera, I obsessively document what is happening. No one sent me on this mission.

“I do this out of a sense of duty and understanding, realizing that these are some of the hardest moments the country has faced since its establishment. This is historical documentation – a visual document that will remain for future generations, just like we look at photos from the Yom Kippur War and Independence Day. Perhaps even like the Holocaust.

“I have seen many dead in my life. In Bucha, Ukraine, I photographed mass graves, but it’s not comparable to what happened here – neither in numbers nor in brutality. I arrived in Haiti after the earthquake there. The scenes were horrific. A natural disaster, as terrible as it may be, is not a man-made act. And here, it’s hard to call those who committed these cruel acts human.”

Ziv Koren

An officer from the counter-terror unit consoles his friend, broken by the sight of holiday challahs left on the table in one of the attacked kibbutz houses

A bloody handprint on the exit wall of a bomb shelter in one of the kibbutz homes

The funeral of the Kutz family. Father Aviv, mother Livnat, and their children Rotem, Yonatan, and Yiftach are buried side by side. The family was murdered in their home in Kfar Aza on October 7

A ZAKA volunteer, who evacuated the bodies of Israelis murdered in the kibbutz, cries on the shoulder of a soldier

A demonstration in Kiryat Tel Aviv for the release of Israelis kidnapped to the Gaza Strip

MAGAV fighters, in cooperation with the Shin Bet, arrest an Israeli Arab identified with ISIS and suspected of terrorist activities

A flower display and banners of the kidnapped children in Gaza at Tel Aviv Museum Square. The square was renamed by Tel Aviv municipality after October 7 the Square for the Hostages and Missing

Combat teams from Brigade 14, including tanks, infantry, and combat engineering, operate in the northern Strip

November 6th, 2023 - Gaza Strip. EXCLUSIVE. IDF soldiers from the 14th Brigade, that includes tank battalion, infantry soldiers and Combat engineers. inside the northern part of Gaza strip, fighting Hamas militants and searching for Hamas infrastructure, rockets launch pits and ammunition. (Ziv Koren/Polaris)

Givati fighters inside a mortar factory located in a school in Gaza

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