The family members of Nir Katz and Liz Trubeshi, who were murdered Saturday in a shooting attack on a gay and lesbian youth center in Tel Aviv, are finding it difficult to come terms with the disaster.
Trubeshi's family remained closed off at home since word of the murder became known, while the relatives of Katz, 26, shared stories of the son who devoted his life to helping struggling closet homosexual youths.
Katz's family first learned of the murder from a phone call informing them of their son's presence at the scene, while watching news reports of the incident on television. "We received word that he had been evacuated to the hospital and then realized that something had happened. We drove down there and then the tragedy became clear," said Nir's stepfather, Gili.
This is the family's second personal tragedy after Nir's father, Rami, was killed in the first Tze'elim Disaster in 1990, in which five soldiers were killed by a shell during training, when Nir was only seven years old. His mother, Ayala remarried, raising Nir and his other five siblings.
Two years ago, Ayala wrote a special column to Ynet, communicating her personal grief over her first husband's death. Nir responded to the article at the time, posting a reply which read "Mom, I'm thinking of you, love you very much."
Nir's stepfather said of him, "He believed in his own way, lived with a boyfriend for years. His goal was to help people who were struggling and who were still in the closet. He considered it a mission."
Katz served during the last three years as a youth counselor at the youth center. The kids he helped were all under 18 and experienced many crises in search of their sexual identity.
Nir Katz as a child with his mother and father
Noa, a fellow counselor and friend of Nir's, said he was a role model to the kids and has even saved lives as part of his activity. "Many times children escape to the streets and approach a counselor. Nir saved many kids' lives, "she said.
Nir, a Computers' major, had high hopes for the future, and dreamed of starting his own business one day. His funeral will be held on Sunday at 6:30 pm at the Reut cemetery.
Liz not yet 17The family members of Liz Trubeshi, almost 17, remained closed off in their home in Holon, trying to come to terms with the bitter truth. "We are hurting and are having a hard time. It's hard to talk about it," said Liz's aunt Cindy.
Liz' classmate in the Kiryat Sharett campus in Holon said of her, "She was very quiet in class. A closed-off and introverted person. I don't know what to say, she didn't even turn 17. She didn't talk about her sexual orientation but was very open on the gay-lesbian issue."
Yaheli Moran Zelikovich and Yael Levy contributed to this report