Those we have lost

Itzik Kozin, 72: Kibbutz fixture who had all the gossip

Murdered by Hamas terrorists in his home in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7

Itzik Kozin (Courtesy)
Itzik Kozin (Courtesy)

Itzik Kozin, 72, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in his home in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7.

He is survived by his only daughter, Ela Shani, 14. He was buried in Rehovot on October 12.

Ela told ABC news in an interview that she was told by authorities her father was shot and then set on fire. “I’m holding on to the hope with all my heart that he died from being shot… His house wasn’t burned, I know that he was taken out of his house after he was shot because I’ve seen the blood… I just want to hope that he was dragged out when he was no longer alive. I just want to hope it was quick.”

She told the news anchor that her father “was a good man, and I think everyone knew it… I’m really proud of who he was, being his daughter, and I loved him.”

According to a kibbutz eulogy, Itizk was born in Israel a few years after his parents, both Holocaust survivors, arrived in the Jewish state with his older sister, Pnina. His parents did not speak much about their wartime experiences, but his father lost his entire family in the Holocaust, including his first wife and his son.

When he was 8, Itzik’s mother died of cancer. At age 16, he arrived at Kibbutz Be’eri with a wave of youth pioneers. For several decades, he worked in farming, before at age 40 moving to work in the famed Be’eri printing press, where he stayed until retirement. His sister, Pnina, died in 1997.

His niece, Ganit Marinberg, shared on Facebook a eulogy written by her father, Rafi, Itzik’s brother-in-law, to the man “I knew for more than five decades.”

He recalled first meeting him in the 1970s when you were “a young handsome soldier in the Nahal Parachute Battalion, tall, good looking with a masculine voice… you loved kibbutz life, and as soon as you were able you left your father’s home with a group of other youth and tied your fortunes to the kibbutz where you met your tragic death.”

“My dear brother-in-law, I will no longer have the chance to grumble about the brother-in-law who saw the world differently than me and lived in another world, I won’t be able to enjoy the cholent served in the cafeteria on Shabbat,” he added. “I won’t get to encounter those wonderful people who were your good and loyal friends for your whole life.”

Adi Zohar, the daughter of Haim Zohar, who was also slain in Be’eri, noted that to the extended Zohar clan, “you were more than family, you were always part of us.”

“Together with my father… You both arrived at the kibbutz without any family, and became family by choice to each other, and were never parted — even in death,” wrote Adi, on what would have been Itzik’s 73rd birthday.

“To us, you were a friend, an uncle and sometimes, especially in the last few years, a father,” she added. “We could talk to you about anything. You knew everybody and it was the most fun to gossip with you. You’d always throw in an old-fashioned joke, tell us about another childhood memory of ours, another story about you and Dad from the glory days. You were significant to us and to so many others and I hope you knew that.”

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