Those we have lost

Dikla Arava, 51, and Tomer Eliaz, 17: Beloved mother and son

Murdered by Hamas terrorists who attacked Kibbutz Nahal Oz on Oct. 7

Tomer Arava Eliaz (left) and Dikla Arava (Courtesy)
Tomer Arava Eliaz (left) and Dikla Arava (Courtesy)

Dikla Arava, 51 and her son Tomer Arava Eliaz, 17, were murdered by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Nahal Oz on October 7.

Terrorists stormed into the home of Noam Elyakim, Dikla’s longtime boyfriend, whose two daughters, Dafna, 15 and Ela, 8, were also home.

The terrorists cruelly forced Tomer at gunpoint to knock on the doors of their neighbors and try to convince them to come outside — all the while livestreaming their psychological and physical terror on Dikla’s Facebook page.

Ultimately, the terrorists murdered Tomer, Dikla and Noam, and kidnapped Dafna and Ela to Gaza, where they were held captive for 51 days before being released as part of a truce deal on November 26.

Dikla and Tomer’s bodies were only discovered and identified more than a week after the attack, outside the kibbutz grounds. They were buried side by side on October 16 in Kfar Maimon. Dikla and Tomer are survived by their two other older children/siblings, Odin and Stav, and Tomer is also survived by his father, Ma’ayan.

A eulogy from the kibbutz lauded Tomer, a student in 12th grade, for “acting with bravery in the face of the murderers who took him as a captive… Tomer acted calmly and with nobility at the gunpoint of the killers.” The teenager, the kibbutz said, was “a magical boy, an angel, a golden child with a good heart, full of joy for life.”

His friends and family noted his love of trance music and festivals, as well as his addiction to the gym and working out.

On an Instagram memorial page set up for Tomer, his sister, Odin, wrote there are “not enough words that can describe what a wonderful person you were.”

“Thank you for everything you were to me, that you always worried about me and put me first, even on that horrible Saturday when you thought about me and checked if I was OK,” she wrote. “Thank you for opening your heart before me like you never did with anyone else. Thank you for recording our conversations which are now all I have left to make me smile again. My angel — you always wanted to be taller than me, and now you are in the highest place in heaven and looking down on me from above.”

Weeks after she returned from captivity, Dafna wrote on Instagram that “my Tomer, I miss you so much, it’s hard for me without you. Until 135 days ago we would go to school together every day, and now I go to school alone every day.”

In April, Dafna wrote a message to Dikla, noting that it had been “196 days that I haven’t heard you, 196 days that I haven’t seen your smile in person and not in photos, 196 days that you are watching over me from above… I hope you are happy and joyful up there.”

The kibbutz eulogy for Dikla noted that she ran the education system for Nahal Oz, and in later years was an educational consultant for preschools.

“Dikla was full of life, loved to dance, to be happy, was a warrior mother for her children,” the eulogy noted. “Her charming smile and laughter will be missed in all of our meetings.”

Maayan Zin, Noam’s ex-wife and the mother of Dafna and Ela, wrote on Facebook that Dikla “loved my daughters so much and my girls loved Dikla so much.”

She said that Dafna and Dikla “connected immediately — Dafna loved her from the first minute they met, they would swap shoes, put on makeup and laugh, Dikla was so present in her life.” Ela, she said, “doesn’t know any life without Dikla. Without Dikla’s family.”

“So yes, Dikla is the new girlfriend, but what Dikla gave to Dafna and Ela and Noam nobody can take away from her,” added Maayan. “I just hope she didn’t suffer in her final moments.”

Shalev Zarka, who is married to Dikla’s niece, noted in a eulogy at the funeral that when he joined the family five years earlier, “I heard so many stories about you, and when we met we fell in love in a moment.”

“Aunt Diki, I love you so much. You were a listening ear to me at any time of day — every phone call from you, every cigarette with you by the fish pond was an experience I will never forget,” he said.

“And Tomer — ‘Tomer the king’ — that’s how you are written in my phone,” Shalev continued. “You were the king in my eyes. Determined in every task, working out like crazy, we would compete in the gym — and you at age 17 would crush me every time. I will take your determination to reach every goal and stand by it. The desire to be the best at everything you wanted to be.”

“Tomer, even in your final moments, when we saw you facing the terrorists, you were such a warrior. Determined and composed. I love you so much.”

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