Those We Have Lost

Itay, Etti and Sagi Zak, 53, 50, 15: Family died in each other’s arms

Three were found hugging one another in their safe room, having died from asphyxiation in Kibbutz Kissufim, October 7

Itay, Etti, and Sagi Zak, murdered in Kibbutz Kissufim, Oct. 7, 2023 . (Courtesy)
Itay, Etti, and Sagi Zak, murdered in Kibbutz Kissufim, Oct. 7, 2023 . (Courtesy)

The Zak family died on October 7 embracing one another for the last time, as Hamas terrorists burned their home down on top of them on Kibbutz Kissufim.

Parents Itay, Etti, and their 15-year-old son Sagi hid in the safe room as Hamas gunmen rampaged through the kibbutz, and refused the terrorists’ demands to leave the shelter and step outside the house.

The terrorists lit the house on fire, killing all three members of the family. The three were found hugging one another in their safe room, having died from asphyxiation.

The three murdered members of the Zak family are survived by son Hadar and daughter Tomer, who were not at home when the attack took place.

Speaking to a reporter from CNN, surviving brother Tomer said of Sagi: “I’m 24, we have 10 years between us. It’s hard for me to say my ‘little brother’ because he was my child.”

In the same news segment, a video can be seen of Sagi dancing at a Bruno Mars concert in Tel Aviv less than a week earlier.

On October 20, Itay, Etti, and Sagi were laid to rest at the Sderot cemetery.

In his eulogy, Hadar said, “In my worst nightmares I never thought I’d be an orphan at 24. Dad — you were the greatest object of admiration I have had in my life. You taught me so much and it still doesn’t feel like enough. Mom — you were always so proud that I was your spitting image, and today I’m just trying with all of my strength to carry on and figure out how I can keep living, but without you all I am lost.”

He also spoke of how he asked his parents for a little brother “and I received an angel.” An angel that was murdered on October 7, two years to the day since he celebrated his bar mitzvah.

In her eulogy, Tomer thanked her parents “for teaching me to love life. People often say that in cases like this, the body is torn apart — but I feel whole. Maybe that’s because you were always inside of me, or I just refuse to accept reality. I can’t believe that I am forced to say goodbye to you all in such a cruel way.”

On Facebook, Tal Zandman wrote: “10 years ago I arrived at the Zak family home for the first time. I was a lone soldier on Kibbutz Kissufim and the amazing Zak family was my adopted family. Etti and Itay are the warmest people anywhere, and without knowing me at all they treated me like a member of the family from day one. And in my mind, Sagi will forever remain the little boy with a giant smile and crazy energy. Thank you for being my family.”

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