newsIsrael at War

Ofek died to protect his girlfriend; she was taken to Gaza

Moran Aloni had to listen to his sisters screaming how they were being forced to choose between dying from fire or giving themselves up.

Trucks filled with dead bodies from Israeli communities near the Gaza border arrive at Abu Kabir Forensic Research Laboratory in Tel Aviv for identification, Oct. 16, 2023. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS.
Trucks filled with dead bodies from Israeli communities near the Gaza border arrive at Abu Kabir Forensic Research Laboratory in Tel Aviv for identification, Oct. 16, 2023. Photo by Gideon Markowicz/TPS.

Eden Zechariah had told her family she was coming home when terrorists started shooting at the outdoor music festival she attended Oct. 7. Her boyfriend, Ofek Kimchi, was killed trying to protect her and she was dragged off to Gaza alive. 

Her mother, Orin Ganz Zecharia, talks about her on video: “If there’s something you can’t miss about Eden, it’s her smile. She used to write down thanks every day for everything she has—thanks for her job, for her parents, for her friends. She really wanted things to be good. The world can’t stand to lose her. She’s too good.

“Eden didn’t go a lot to festivals, but when there was a festival that was really good, she would go, yes. She loved the feeling of freedom, and honestly, these were great festivals. First of all, such beautiful people. Whenever I came to look for my daughter, it was really hard because they all look the same. They’re all amazingly pretty, with long hair and jewelry—they all looked like my daughter.

“I woke up on Saturday morning to the sound of sirens. The first thing I did was send a message in the family WhatsApp group, asking if everyone was alright. I sent a message, and Eden replied: ‘I’m in Ofakim, on my way back home, there’s a heavy rocket barrage.’ I asked if she’s hiding; she didn’t reply. I called her, and she said: ‘Mom, I’m alright; we’re on our way back home. Wait a second, I have another incoming call. It’s Dad. Dad is on the other end.’ 

“They spoke for a few minutes, and then she started screaming: ‘They’re shooting at us, it’s really close, take care of the dogs.’ That was the last call we had with her. Then all contact was lost.

“Her boyfriend insisted on staying with her, He wouldn’t leave her side, no matter what. He stayed with her and from what I hear, he took a bullet.

“My daughter is smart. My daughter is strong. She’s a survivor. I know if she has even the slightest chance, she’ll survive this. 

“I want to believe—I know, I know, the terrorists did terrible things. But I know there are also good people, on both sides. There are good Arabs. I’m of Syrian descent.

“You can’t help but love her. I know if they have her, she’s being taken care of. I know that.

“Please, please, bring her home.”

The last message

Terrorists took over the house of David and Sharon Kunio-Aloni and set it on fire to drive the family out of their safe room. They kidnapped and dragged back to Gaza the couple; their 3-year-old twins Yuli and Emma; Sharon’s sister Danielle; and her 6-year-old daughter Amelia. 

Sharon and Danielle’s brother, Moran Aloni, talk about the horror on video. “Saturday morning, my sister sends us a chilling voice message. “The terrorists are in our house! We can hear them in the house. They are burning the house. Smoke is getting under the door. We don’t think we’re gonna make it. We love you.'”

“Her last message was ‘Help! We’re dying.’

“My sisters, Danielle, Sharon and their daughters Yuli, Emma, Amelia and also David … I pray that you find in your heart to do something out of the ordinary, show us that there’s someone else that can listen to our prayers.”

Watched her daughter abused in Gaza

German citizen Shani Louk, 23, was taken into Gaza naked on a truck and beaten by a mob.

Louk was trying to flee the Nova party when the missiles were launched but soon ran into Hamas terrorists, who took her into Gaza, where she was filmed being beaten either unconscious or dead. 

Her mother, Ricarda Louk, recounts the horror on video: “We’re always in touch. Even when she’s far away, she always [reports] where she is. Shani is an amazing daughter; she’s an artist, she loves life. 

“We invited her and her Mexican boyfriend to dinner. It was a holiday. She said: ‘It’s a little tight for us since we’re going to a party afterwards, so we said, ‘OK, never mind. Next week then.

“Then, in the morning the rocket strike started, so I called her straight away: Shani, where are you? Do you have a bomb shelter, since she doesn’t have one in Tel Aviv? Then she said: ‘We’re still in the party in the south. We’re now leaving with the car and looking for a safe place.’ That was the last time we heard from her.

“Someone who was near to her said once the chaos began, they ran straight for their cars. Shani was in the first car. She drove and they started to go to the main road to get away. The second car was slightly behind. Then they reached the road and were stopped and threatened by Hamas. They managed to call him in the second car and say ‘Don’t come here. Flee!’. They left the car and ran by foot and survived. The last thing he heard was Shani screaming and shooting, and then the call was disconnected.

“My eldest son got it first. He said: ‘It’s her, it’s Shani!’ We see them with Hamas on the truck with the rifles, and we see the other video where they’re driving around in Gaza. There’s no doubt about it: She’s there. We all started crying and screaming, and said: She’s been abducted! She’s not missing. We know where she is. She’s abducted.

“We don’t have time. Even if she’s wounded, we don’t know how safe the hostages are there. There’s no time.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates