Those We Have Lost

Col. Asaf Hamami, 41: Witty commander ‘did not hesitate for a moment’

Killed battling Hamas terrorists at Kibbutz Nirim on Oct. 7, his body taken captive; declared dead on Dec. 2

Col. Asaf Hamami, the commander of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, in an undated photo. Hamami was killed October 7 battling Hamas terrorists in southern Israel. (Israel Defense Forces)
Col. Asaf Hamami, the commander of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, in an undated photo. Hamami was killed October 7 battling Hamas terrorists in southern Israel. (Israel Defense Forces)

Col. Asaf Hamami, 41, from Kiryat Ono, the commander of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, was killed fighting Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Nirim on the morning of October 7, during the terror group’s onslaught on southern Israel.

For eight weeks he was considered a Hamas hostage, until the IDF confirmed his death on December 2, officially listing his status as a “fallen IDF soldier held captive by a terror group” and his date of death as October 7.

Hamami’s death was declared by the chief rabbi, based on findings obtained by the military in the Gaza Strip. The findings allowed Hamami to have a funeral according to halacha, or Jewish law, but his body remains in Gaza.

Hamami is survived by his wife Sapir and their three children, and his parents, Clara and Ilan.

On the morning of October 7, as Hamas launched its assault, Hamami was spending Shabbat at the Gaza Divison base near the border with his 5-year-old son, Alon. Hamami handed his son to other soldiers to take him to a safe place and set out to battle the terrorists.

Hamami was remembered by his family and friends as a funny and witty officer, always wanting to be first, and his love for his family.

Col. Asaf Hamami’s wife Sapir and son Alon mourn during his funeral in Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv, December 4, 2023, (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The commander of the Gaza Division, Brig. Gen. Avi Rosenfeld, eulogized him at his funeral, saying: “You were purely a human being, purely a commander, purely a warrior.”

“The way you fought and fell defined who you were. Family was so important to you, every time you talked about them it was hard to miss the smile and the sparkle in your eyes. Perhaps your consolation is that he fell as a hero,” Rosenfeld said.

Hamami’s wife, Sapir, said he was “the perfect, most suitable partner for me. The deal between us was that you take care of the country and I take care of everything else.”

“Not many know how funny you are, how witty you are. Thank you my love for 17 years of great love. Thank you for the children, thank you for a whole life. My heart is broken and crushed, but also at peace with your decision, because what hurts me so much today is also what made me fall in love with you,” she added.

His mother, Clara said she recalled when Hamami was first drafted to the military to the Givati Infantry Brigade in 2001. “How much you wanted to grow up and join the army. You were so excited when you wore the green army uniform,” she said. “You considered yourself equal among equals… you did not ask for glory and honor.”

Hamami’s father, Ilan, said he always “strove to be first.”

“You were born to be a good friend and a pleasant person. When you enlisted, you joined the Givati ​​Brigade. We were all very proud of you and knew that there was a commander with values ​​like yours in the army who cares for his soldiers and subordinates,” he said.

Col. Asaf Hamami, the commander of the Gaza Division’s southern brigade who was killed on October 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Hamami never hesitated. “Those who knew Assaf, as a subordinate, a commander, and a friend, always knew that where danger lurks and it is necessary to engage, that is exactly where Hamami would be found.”

“That’s where he was there during his 22 years of service in the IDF, and he was also there on the day the war started on October 7. As soon as word of the terror onslaught became known, Hamami did not hesitate for a moment,” Gallant said.

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here. 

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