Those we have lost

Cpt. Kfir Itzhak Franco, 22: Recently engaged tank commander

Killed while battling against Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip on November 15

Cpt. Kfir Itzhak Franco (IDF)
Cpt. Kfir Itzhak Franco (IDF)

Cpt. Kfir Itzhak Franco, 22, a platoon commander in the 401st Brigade’s 52nd Battalion, from Jerusalem, was killed on November 15 while battling Hamas in northern Gaza.

He was buried on November 16 on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. He is survived by his parents, Muriel and Chaim, his sisters Elior, 25, and Tair, 17, and his fiance, Naama.

Born in Jerusalem to immigrant parents from France, Kfir was active in youth groups before attending a pre-army academy in the Golan Heights and then enlisting in the Armored Corps. A week before the October 7 Hamas attack, Kfir proposed to his girlfriend of close to a year, and they were planning an April wedding.

“He was a very sociable young man, from a young age he was always involved in all sorts of activities in the neighborhood,” Kfir’s father, Haim, told Channel 14. “He really wanted to enlist and to serve — to do something.”

Haim said Kfir was very modest “but he always stood by his views.” He loved to speak about his experience hiking the Israel Trail, his father said. “He believed it represented the three values he saw as central: love of country, love of the people and love of the Torah,” said his father.

Kfir, he said, believed strongly in the need for the people of Israel to be united: “He would always say that inside the tank, they’re four people, different from each other, with their own histories, backgrounds, approaches to religion, but they’d all drink coffee in the morning together on the tank.”

Naama Dopelt salutes at the funeral of her fiance, Cpt. Kfir Itzhak Franco, on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on November 16, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

His mother, Muriel, told Channel 14 that they last saw Kfir on October 7, when he was called up to the front lines with the outbreak of the war. They last spoke, she said, in late October, shortly before he was sent into Gaza.

“He was an officer and he wanted to set a good example not to have his parents come if others couldn’t, so he told us, ‘Don’t come, please don’t come.’ And I honored that, sadly, and I didn’t see him again,” she said. “We had a unique relationship, and I think his communication with everyone was special… He didn’t judge, he was righteous, he was very humble, he was a leader in modesty, even in war.”

A day before the start of the war, Muriel said, her family met with Naama’s family, “and we started to talk about a wedding… It was our first time meeting the family, we were so happy to meet them, and everything was pushed off.”

Speaking to Arutz Sheva a month after he was killed, Kfir’s fiancee, Naama, described him as “smiling, happy, you could see his life in his eyes, his joy.”

“We did a lot of silliness together, we were a sort of childlike-but-mature couple, who understood life but still had our fun and our laughs,” she said.

At his funeral, Naama said she had already picked out a wedding dress and bought a tallit for him to wear under the huppa, and they had even discussed names for the six children they wanted to have.

“A week before the war you proposed to me in front of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem,” she said. “You were like my wall, my stability, my anchor. You told me that was the last surprise, but now you gave me one last surprise.”

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