Ex-IDF chief Eisenkot’s nephew dies in Gaza fighting, day after Eisenkot’s son killed

Sgt. Maor Cohen Eisenkot, 19, killed by explosive inside Khan Younis mosque Friday; war cabinet minister’s son, Gal Meir, was killed Thursday; both named for grandfather Meir

Sgt. Maor Cohen Eisenkot, 19, of the Golani Brigade’s 12th Battalion, killed in battle in the southern Gaza Strip on December 8, 2023. (Courtesy)
Sgt. Maor Cohen Eisenkot, 19, of the Golani Brigade’s 12th Battalion, killed in battle in the southern Gaza Strip on December 8, 2023. (Courtesy)

The Israel Defense Forces announced Saturday the death in combat in Gaza of the nephew of former IDF chief of staff and current war cabinet observer minister Gadi Eisenkot, shortly after Eisenkot lost his son in the Strip.

Sgt. Maor Cohen Eisenkot, 19, of the Golani Brigade’s 12th Battalion, from Eilat, was killed by an explosive alongside Staff Sgt. Jonathan Dean Jr Haim, 25, during a raid inside a mosque in Khan Younis Friday.

The IDF said the explosive device was detonated near the forces, and that troops directed an attack helicopter to strike Hamas gunmen on the roof of the mosque, a number of others who came out of a tunnel, and more gunmen identified in the area.

Later, an IAF fighter jet destroyed the mosque along with the tunnel infrastructure under it, the IDF said.

An officer and two other soldiers were also injured in the incident.

Maor Cohen Eisenkot is the son of Sharon Eisenkot, the war cabinet’s half-sister from their father’s second marriage. Gadi Eisenkot’s son, Master Sgt. (res.) Gal Meir Eisenkot, 25, was killed Thursday.

Both he and Maor were named in honor of their grandfather, Meir. Maor in Hebrew means light, and Meir — to light.

Gal Eisenkot (left) and Gadi Eisenkot (Itay Cohen/Bemahane)

In Eilat, Maor played in youth division soccer and was described as a serious player and a responsible and caring person by his coaches, the Israel Hayom daily reported.

“Maor is one of the city of Eilat’s best sons, loved by all,” Eilat’s Mayor Eli Lankri said in a statement eulogizing Eisenkot. “A hero of Israel who fought alongside our heroic soldiers for the defense of the homeland and who sacrificed his life for our existence in our country.”

Earlier in the week, another nephew of Gadi Eisenkot was injured by a mortar shell during fighting in the Strip, according to media reports. He is believed to be in moderate condition.

Gal Eisenkot, who died after a bomb exploded in a tunnel shaft near soldiers in the Jabaliya camp in northern Gaza, was laid to rest Friday in an emotional service in Herzliya.

His father Gadi, usually stoic, choked up throughout his eulogy and vowed that his his son’s sacrifice “will not be in vain, and we will be deserving of it.”

Israel’s war against Hamas erupted after the terror group’s October 7 massacre, when some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing some 1,200 people and seizing over 240 hostages, mainly civilians.

The toll of slain IDF soldiers during the ground offensive against Hamas stands at 97.

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