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Despite perilous circumstances, incredible acts of humanity taking place amid Israel-Hamas war

The images and stories coming out of the war between Israel and Hamas are horrifying. Millions around the world have scrolled through the tragic scenes posted on social media with a growing sense of despair.

It’s easy to forget that amongst so much inhumanity, incredible acts of humanity are taking place. Like inside Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital. There, Dr. Ehab Bader, a Canadian-trained neonatologist, is risking his life to give those whose lives have barely begun a fighting chance.

Bader’s wife Rana and their three young daughters, who live in London, Ont., sat down with CTV’s W5 to discuss the complex emotions that this war has brought to the surface.

Rana says her parents’ home was hit by an Israeli airstrike. Her brother was killed. In 2014, she says her pregnant sister and two nephews were killed in a previous Israeli attack.

With her husband now caught in the conflict, Rana Bader admits she’s had far too many sleepless nights. “This is a nightmare. I wake up many times during the night. I have so many nightmares,” says the mother of three.

Due to electricity and connectivity issues, reaching her husband over the phone is a challenge. Rana can go days at a time without hearing from him.

An undated image of Dr. Ehab Bader. (Source: Rana Bader)

“It’s just calming to hear his voice that he is alive,” says Rana. Like hundreds of other Canadians, Bader is trapped in Gaza. He travelled there in late September to help care for his father who’s in poor health.

Worried about being targeted, Bader doesn’t drive. Instead, he walks each day to Al Shifa hospital. His friends and medical colleagues in Canada have been left in awe at this remarkable courage amidst the carnage.

“He has decided that he is going to make the trek, the dangerous trek, to the hospital there every day and to treat as many babies and neonates as he can,” notes Dr. Nabil Sultan, Bader’s close friend.

Sultan received a voice note from Bader this week, who shared that in Gaza, “we don't feel safe at all at any time, any moment, anywhere you could be targeted. Regardless of who you are, civilian walking down the street, or at your house, or even leaving the hospital."

Ehab Bader and Nabil Sultan are shown in an image provided to CTV News by Nabil Sultan.

On the opposite end of this conflict, the family of Netta Epstein struggles to come to terms with the loss of a young man who was cherished by his loved ones.

On Oct. 7, Netta and his fiancée Irene Shavit were in their apartment in the Kfar Aza Kibbutz when Hamas militants broke into their apartment.

Netta sent his mother a text message that will stay with her for the rest of her life, “He wrote, ‘They’re here, mommy.’ And that’s it. So he knew they were coming,” recounts Netta’s mother, Ayelet Shachar-Epstein.

Netta Epstein is seen with his fiancee, Irene Shavit, in this undated handout photo provided by his family.

As they hid in the bomb shelter in their apartment, Netta and Irene were cornered when Hamas militants confronted them.

Sharing her firsthand account, Shavit recalls the moment militants “broke the window in our living room, they opened our safe room, then they threw a grenade, then two grenades.”

Then they tossed a third grenade. It’s at that time that Netta made the decision to use his body as a shield in hopes of protecting his fiancée.

According to Shavit, Netta “jumped on the grenade.” Then she watched as the love of her life died right before her eyes.

Shavit was then alone with the killers in their apartment. For reasons unknown, they didn’t come to see if she was still alive.

“They didn’t come in the room,” she recalls. “They stayed in the living room, kind of kept talking and laughing.”

Netta made the ultimate sacrifice. Now his bride to-be can’t bring herself to think of him in the past tense.

“He’s still with me, I’m still hoping he will come to me in my dreams,” she says.

Netta Epstein and Irene Shavit are shown in an image provided to CTV News by Ayelet Shachar-Epstein.

The two families, caught on separate sides of this deadly conflict, have shown great courage in the face of perilous circumstances.

Now, both say they want the same thing — peace. And the prospect of raising their families without the constant threat of war. Top Stories

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