ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 54

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Those We Have Lost

Ayala, 73, Liel & Yannai Hetzroni, 12: Great aunt and twins she raised

All three were murdered by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7, as was Ayala’s brother and the twins’ grandfather, Aviya Hetzroni

Ayala, Yannai and Liel Hetzroni (Courtesy)
Ayala, Yannai and Liel Hetzroni (Courtesy)

Ayala Hetzroni, 73, and her great niece and nephew, 12-year-old twins Liel and Yannai Hetzroni, were murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7 in Kibbutz Be’eri.

The twins’ grandfather, Aviya Hetzroni, was also murdered in Be’eri during the Hamas onslaught.

On the day of the attack, terrorists killed Aviya while taking Liel, Yannai and Ayala to another building on Kibbutz Be’eri, where they had gathered a number of the community residents, Ynet reported. There the gunmen massacred all of them, then torched the building.

Yannai and Aviya’s bodies were discovered in the weeks following the attack, and the pair were buried together on October 23 in Kibbutz Revivim. Ayala’s body was located weeks later, and the family decided to hold a funeral on November 15 for both Ayala and Liel, burying personal items belonging to Liel instead of waiting for her remains, since they believed she had no chance of still being alive.

A few days after the funeral was held, some remains of Liel were also identified.

Aviya and his late wife, Eva — who died earlier this year — together with Ayala, raised the twins after their mother, Shira, suffered complications during their birth and was paralyzed.

Shira, who could not attend the funeral, sent words to be read by someone else at the ceremony: “Ayala, I was lucky that you were a role model to my children, and now you are together. You gave up so much without ever asking for anything in return.”

One mourner at the funeral said, “Ayala was an aunt in the job of mom, and Aviya was a grandfather and dad. Liel grew up surrounded by love. She was mature and childish, she was strong and tough, but she had her own fears she dealt with bravely and honestly.”

They said the twins had a close and special relationship with Ayala, and a unique bond with each other.

Omri Shifroni, Ayala’s nephew, wrote on Facebook that his aunt was “pure, pleasant, beloved, like a second mother to me, and always accepted everyone and tolerated everything and was responsible for everyone… our beloved Ayalush, who raised with endless love two incredible twins who she got as a gift for her 60th birthday and were murdered with her just 12.5 years later.”

Liel was eulogized at the funeral as “friendly and sensitive to all, both children and adults. Liel blossomed outside of the classroom. Her peers described her as a great girl who loved to go crazy with her friends — a troublemaker with a pure heart, a girl with a huge laugh.”

After his death, Yannai’s teacher described him as “a leader among his peers and an amazing friend. He was funny and amicable, always ready to brighten the room with his humor and warmth.” Another said he “never failed to brighten every day with his infectious joy and laughter. He was a wonderful friend and also the class’s resident entertainer, spreading smiles to everyone around.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here. 

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