The stories of the fallen: Dekel was the only officer around when Hamas attacked

Amit warned his family to prepare if something were to happen, Shiraz was talking to her friend before that attack took place; these are some of their stories

Roy Rubinstein, Elisha Ben Kimon, Raanan Ben-Zur, Meir Turgeman, Roni Green Shaulov|

Lieutenant Dekel Suissa

Lieutenant Dekel Suissa, a commander in the Golani Brigades' 13th Battalion, was celebrating Simchat Torah at his base when Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. "At around 6am, their base was bombed by the first mortar, and Dekel was the only officer at the base. When he was told he’s now the base’s commander over the radio, he knew he had to stay there and operate this incident," his brother Eden recounted.
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Israel honors its fallen heroes
(Credit: Evyatar Freilichman, Ya'ara Goldsmith )

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"He brought the soldiers outside, gave them a brief speech, telling them this is what they’ve been training for in the past few months, and will continue to fight to the very end," his brother added.
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סגן דקל סוויסה ז"ל
סגן דקל סוויסה ז"ל
Lieutenant Dekel Suissa
"His soldiers later said in tears that he had saved them, and that the base didn’t fall or get captured because of Dekel and his soldiers’ bravery. At around 10:30am, Dekel realized the number of enemies was too high, so he decided to move all the soldiers to a bomb shelter and contact the Air Force telling them to strike the base."
While Dekel was rallying the troops, he noticed his soldier who was severely injured and tried to help him. "The soldiers guarding the base’s entrance said they heard Dekel groaning in pain and then falling over. Most of the soldiers managed to survive until reinforcements arrived to evacuate them in the afternoon. They identified Dekel's body, and around it, five dead terrorists."
Dekel was the youngest sibling in his family, and in high school, he studied at the pre-military academy in Haifa. His sister Lital recounted, "Dekel said, 'You can focus on yourself or do something better—it's your choice.'"

Avia Ganot

Avia Ganot, a 22-year-old from the settlement of Tzofim in the West Bank, was among those celebrating at the music festival near Kibbutz Re'im. For a week, she was declared missing, until last week, her body was discovered. "They told us of your passing on Saturday, we don't want to start over without you," lamented her mother, Yifat.
אביה גנוטAvia Ganot
Her sister, Aniam, mourned her, saying, "I woke up very ill at Simchat Torah and was about to faint. They say that siblings can feel one another. Since then, I haven't stopped talking about you, begging you to return. I loved the time I had with you so much. I loved the jokes we told about how different, and how similar we are. Thank you for all that you’ve been for me."

Staff Sergeant Ofek Ruso

Staff Sergeant Ofek Ruso, who had just celebrated his 21st birthday ten days ago, finished the Shayetet 13 elite reconnaissance unit’s training course four months ago. "He was one of the leading figures in the course, never complained, never considered giving up, he was very determined to achieve his goals," his relatives said. "He set goals for himself and stood by them since childhood. He had a brave spirit, and nothing stood in his way."
סמ"ר אופק רוסו ז"לStaff Sergeant Ofek RusoPhoto: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Ofek was stationed at his unit’s base on Saturday, and when Hamas’ attack began, he was mobilized to southern Israel. "When they entered Kibbutz Be’eri, they saw horrors that shocked them. They began evacuating people out of the shelters and saved them from certain death. During the operation, a report came in about an injured soldier, and Ofek, who was the only medic in the area, immediately moved in and saved his life. While treating him, he was shot, and died on the spot.”

Shiran-Shiraz Yishmereni Tamam

Shiraz was celebrating peace at the music festival near Kibbutz Re’im along with her husband Adir. After several days of uncertainty, her body was found, and she was buried alongside her husband.
שירז תמם Shiraz Tamam
Shiraz was a hydrotherapy swimming instructor and had worked extensively with children on the autism spectrum. "How can we say goodbye to someone like you? The most special mother I know. You’re my little sister, but I looked up to you," her sister Carmit Yehuda said. "In our last conversation on Saturday, you were scared, and I couldn't calm you down. I ask for your forgiveness, my beloved sister." Shiraz and Adir left behind two daughters, aged 8 and 10.

Kobi Pariente

Kobi Pariente, a 43-year-old from Sderot, was named after his uncle Yaakov, who was killed in the Yom Kippur War. Last Saturday, he was murdered during his morning run, and was buried exactly 50 years after his uncle fell in battle.
"Kobi called me and told me that he was safe, that soldiers had come to rescue them. I sent a message in our group saying Kobi was still alive," his sister Rinat recounted. "After a few hours, when he didn't respond to me and at the same time calls came from his running group friends, I realized something had happened to him."
קובי פריינטהKobi Pariente
The timing of the funeral and the wake was a chilling coincidence for the family. "After our uncle was killed, our family only had daughters. Kobi was the first son born in the family seven years after the tragedy, and was given his name."

Yaniv, Yasmin, Keshet and Tekhelet Zohar

On the morning of October 7, Ariel Zohar went for a run while the rest of his family stayed in their home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Hamas terrorists who infiltrated the community murdered his parents, Yaniv and Yasmin, and their daughters Keshet and Tekhelet. Ariel hid himself in a nearby home and was saved.
"My dear Yaniv, my cool uncle and talented photographer. Thank you for being your first niece. Yasmin, you always brought everyone together. I remember the fairies you gave me as a child," the family’s relative Shoval Cohen lamented.
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יניב זוהר, יסמין זוהר, תכלת זוהר, קשת זוהר
יניב זוהר, יסמין זוהר, תכלת זוהר, קשת זוהר
Yaniv, Yasmin, Keshet and Tekhelet Zohar
"My dear Keshet, my beloved cousin, my companion. You were everyone's sunshine. I didn’t stop thinking about you on Saturday. Amidst all this tragedy, there was a miracle, and Ariel who survived. I promise to take care of him and raise him as my little brother."

Staff Sergeant Amit Peled

On Friday, October 6, Staff Sergeant Amit Peled, a 21-year-old Egoz unit fighter from Haifa, spoke with his family and told them that he had been mobilized to Huwara in the West Bank. The following morning, he reported he was heading to the Kisufim base close to the Gaza border.
"While telling us he was heading there, he even wrote that we should take care of ourselves and prepare our shelter in case something happened in the northern front," his sister Gaya recounted. "As soon as they entered the base, they found until nightfall. Amit and two of his friends in the team were killed on Saturday evening."
סמ"ר עמית פלדStaff Sergeant Amit PeledPhoto: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
"Amit wanted to be a fighter. He was accepted into the Eogz unit and understood the importance of his service and contribution to the military and to Israel," said his grandfather Amir Drori. Amit was due to be released in six months, and had already begun planning his trip to the east. "He loved traveling; even when he was home on weekends, he was always traveling around the country. He had a dream of traveling the world. Unfortunately, this dream won’t come true."
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