Those We Have Lost

Igal and Amit Wachs, 53 & 48: US-Israeli brothers killed defending town

Slain in their community of Netiv Ha’asara while fighting Hamas on October 7

Igal (left) and Amit Wachs who were killed defending Netiv Ha'asara on October 7, 2023. (IDF/Courtesy)
Igal (left) and Amit Wachs who were killed defending Netiv Ha'asara on October 7, 2023. (IDF/Courtesy)

Igal Wachs, 52, and his younger brother Amit Wachs, 48, were both killed while defending their town of Netiv Ha’asara near the Gaza border on October 7.

The Wachs brothers were both dual Israeli-American citizens, said Liat Wachs, Igal’s ex-wife, who lives near Boston with their 10-year-old son, Jonathan.

Liat said the pair both died fighting to protect the community they loved so much.

“They tried to protect the people, and they didn’t have a chance,” she told a local Boston news site. “I want him to be remembered with his big smile and good heart.”

The head of the kibbutz’s local security team told Kan news that Igal went out to fight back against the terrorists armed only with a knife. He was shot in the back, and his wounds could not be treated in time to save him.

Amit, a retired Shin Bet operative and an official member of the town’s local security team, was posthumously recognized by the Defense Ministry as a fallen soldier with the rank of warrant officer in the reserves, after he was killed in a gun battle with Hamas terrorists. He is survived by his wife, Einat, and three children: Daniel, Talia and Oriya.

The brothers were also both survived by their father, Alfredo, an immigrant from Argentina, and their younger brothers Nimrod and Gilad. Back-to-back funerals for Igal and Amit were held on October 17 in the Palmahim Cemetery near Rishon Lezion, and they were buried in Netiv Ha’asara.

According to a Shin Bet eulogy, Amit began his career in the agency in 1999, and quickly moved up in the ranks due to his “exceptional level of discipline and high motivation.” He was a “responsible and hard-working person, who acted quietly and modestly together with an intense passion,” the eulogy read, noting that his superiors said he was the guy who “could be relied on with ‘closed eyes.'”

A friend eulogized Amit on Facebook as someone “who instilled confidence and a feeling that everything was going to be alright. Hundreds of people knew him, he volunteered in every place, always with a big smile, always modestly, always with a huge heart.”

Amit’s daughter, Cpl. Daniel Wachs, a technician in the Israeli Air Force, said in an IAF article that she knew her father would go out to fight: “That’s who he was. We had no doubt that if something was going on he would be the first to lend a hand.”

Daniel said her father “loved to hike, and he would always promise us a short path and then we’d end up walking for a long time. He had a license for everything in the world, he taught us off-roading,” she said. “I’m glad we experienced so much with him and we have such significant memories from him.”

Her uncle Igal as well, she said, “knew how to do so many things, he was a welder and he would fix cars, he loved to cook and to play sports — they were both so wonderful.”

Their father, Alfredo, told a local news outlet, “I wasn’t surprised by what my children did [that day]. I know them. I knew that they were the guys who did their jobs, like the work that police and firefighters do — work that has an 80% risk, and they took it upon themselves.”

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