Those we have lost

Ilan Fiorentino, 38: Kibbutz security chief who was a ‘200% dad’

Killed battling the Hamas invasion of Kibbutz Nahal Oz on October 7

Ilan Fiorentino (IDF)
Ilan Fiorentino (IDF)

Ilan Fiorentino, 38, was killed on October 7 while battling against the Hamas invasion of his beloved Kibbutz Nahal Oz, where he was born and lived most of his life.

As chief of the kibbutz’s local security team, he was posthumously recognized as a fallen soldier with the rank of sergeant major in the reserves.

Ilan was buried on October 13 in Sde Ilan. He is survived by his wife, Sharon, their three daughters, Libby, Doron and Gili, his parents, Nurit and Yehuda and his five siblings, Keren, Shoham, Gilli, Oded and Ifat.

On the morning of the Hamas onslaught, Ilan received a call from Yasmin Zohar, worried about her son, Ariel, who had gone for an early-morning run amid the attack. Ilan set out to find Ariel, and brought him to his own home where he survived in their safe room with Ilan’s family. Yasmin, her husband Yaniv and their two daughters Keshet and Tehelet were all murdered by Hamas terrorists in their home that day.

After saving Ariel, Ilan set out to defend the kibbutz from the attack, and was slain not long after he texted his wife: “I’m in battle.”

A eulogy for the kibbutz noted that Ilan had served as its security chief since 2015 “with courage, professionalism, pleasantness, modesty, seriousness and calm, without concessions — he was the most decorated security chief in the region.”

Noam Tibon, a retired IDF general who headed to Nahal Oz on October 7 to rescue his son and grandchildren, wrote in Globes that Ilan engaged in a “hopeless battle” against the terrorists at the rear gate of the kibbutz: “One brave man against dozens of terrorists… every moment that he succeeded in delaying the terrorists gave another family a chance to save themselves from the horror.”

Every time he visited the kibbutz, wrote Noam, “I would see [Ilan] traveling around the kibbutz with his daughters, spreading smiles everywhere and radiating optimism and calm. He was a pillar of the Nahal Oz community, a beloved and appreciated man by many… We will remember him always, with his modest smile and kind look in his eyes.”

A huge fan of both playing and watching soccer and basketball, he was known for his ardent devotion to the Maccabi Tel Aviv team.

In a video memorial released by the kibbutz, his mother, Nurit, said, “Ilan was a very calm child, he had many friends, everyone wanted to be around him. He always liked to be surrounded by friends, he played soccer very well,” she said, so much so that he was scouted as a youth for a special training school, but she opted to allow him to decide if it was something he wanted to pursue later.

“Ilan was very family-oriented, he spent time with his parents, his five siblings and his extended family,” she added, later choosing to raise his own family in the kibbutz.

In an interview for a podcast with Sapir College students about life in the south, which was only released after his death, Ilan described how he had been convinced to join the local security team despite initially resisting: “OK, fine, this is how we were raised here, to give, to donate, in whatever way we can.”

When he got married, he recounted, the couple decided “to continue living here in Nahal Oz… To raise kids in this reality is one of the best things you can give your children — the green surroundings, the pluses outweigh the minuses.”

His wife, Sharon, said Ilan was a man who loved life and loved the kibbutz.

“Ilan enjoyed every day, every moment — he appreciated every day and minute in his life,” Sharon told Ynet. “He loved to go to Maccabi Tel Aviv games with his daughters, he loved to spend time with them, to take them to nursery and pick them up after — to be a dad 200% of the time.”

“He loved music, every branch of sports, poker, he loved life,” she added. “The kibbutz was his life, the people on the kibbutz — he always thought of others.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

Most Popular
read more: