Ayelet Godard, 63, and husband Manny Godard, 73, were murdered by Hamas terrorists in their home in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7.
Ayelet called one of their children that Saturday morning screaming that Manny had been killed and she was hiding in the bushes from the terrorists. She was never heard from again, and their bodies were only recovered close to two weeks later.
A funeral for the couple was held on October 29 in Palmahim. Kibbutz Be’eri however announced on February 8, 2024, that Manny’s body was being held in Gaza.
The couple are survived by their children, Mor, Gal, Bar and Goni, a number of grandchildren and several siblings.
A eulogy posted on the kibbutz website remembered Ayelet as a longtime educator, “a special teacher, one of days gone by, the kind who brought nature into the classroom and took the children outside,” and shaped so many of the youth who grew up in the kibbutz and nearby. She was an “incredible mother and a revered grandmother,” who also “believed with all her heart in the kibbutz and its members, and was an active part of the kibbutz life.”
Manny, the kibbutz eulogized, had “a love of sports, the ocean and people.” He was a professional soccer player in the 1970s before enlisting in the army and fighting in the Yom Kippur War. In the kibbutz, he worked in a variety of positions, including in the printing house, the local kibbutz store, the chief economist, and always where his heart lay — as a lifeguard.
Their son Goni wrote on Facebook that they were “people with a special heart of gold which entered inside everyone in the world. Everyone wanted to say thank you — thank you for all the years that you hugged us and loved us. Thank you for the endless support and help. Thank you for all the experiences we had with you… the list doesn’t end.”
“These are the people you were — people who spread light in every direction, people of people, thank you for everything,” he wrote. “You will always, always no matter what be an inseparable part of us.”
Their daughter, Mor Godard, wrote on Facebook that she struggled to find the words for their eulogy, and could no longer call them to ask for help.
“Now, there is nobody to ask, there is no flashlight illuminating the way, there is no way,” she wrote. “There is great darkness, there is fear and there is longing.”
Mor described her father as “the anchor in our lives, our guy, who was always there to rely on. The one who would pick us up from youth parties in the middle of the night, send us money to India because we spent too much, who was always the first in every kindergarten classroom and every class when the grandchildren had their birthdays.”
Her mother, she wrote, “was always my first telephone call in the morning and my last at the end of the day — 20 times a day I want to call you and I can’t. You were everything to me, the one I always sought advice from on everything from big to small… You always listened, strengthened, defended and also offered solutions.”
Mor wrote, “I am sure that if there is a place up above, you are sitting together, laughing, talking, bringing up memories, and proud that we all survived. That you sacrificed your lives so that we would make it out of that horror alive. Mom and Dad, I want you to know that we are strong, we are together, we are taking care of each other, supporting, embracing, there for each other without limitation, just like you taught us, just like you raised us.”