Those We Have Lost

Jina Semiatiz, 90: Great-grandmother was ‘happiest holding a baby’

Dragged out of the safe room in her Kissufim home and shot in the head, October 7

Jina Semiatiz (Courtesy)
Jina Semiatiz (Courtesy)

Jina Semiatiz, 90, was murdered by Hamas terrorists who stormed into Kibbutz Kissufim on October 7.

A native of Chile, she moved to Israel as a young woman in 1957 and settled in Kissufim, where she met her future husband, Yaakov, and they built a home there and had three children.

Her grandson, Shmuel Harel, recounted that Semiatiz worked in the kibbutz’s children’s house, as well as in the local small grocery store.

“My grandmother had a full life that was cut short by a brutal murder,” he wrote on Facebook.

Harel, who also lived in Kissufim, told the Ynet news site that the Hamas terrorists dragged her out of the safe room in her home, and shot her in the head: “We spoke to her just a few minutes before, she said she was in the reinforced room hiding and afraid.”

Her family noted that they were forced to deny false reports in local and international media outlets that she was a Holocaust survivor.

Shmuel’s wife, Rachel Harel, wrote that Semiatiz was “always happiest when she was holding a baby. She had an incredible ability to connect with babies and make them laugh… she loved all her great-grandchildren, she was overjoyed when we came to visit.”

Rachel Harel said that Semiatiz “accepted me warmly from the moment she met me, and I got another grandmother as a gift. Grandma Jina had a very unique and cynical sense of humor — she made me laugh so much, and she always knew that I would get her jokes, so she could tell me anything she wanted.”

A neighbor in Kissufim, Maayan Grosvirt Hendler, said she was worried about Semiatiz as the attack unfolded and was devastated to learn of her murder.

“When we moved into the neighborhood I apologized if we were making noise. All she said was, ‘It’s fun to hear the noise of children, it warms my heart,'” Hendler recounted. “We are pained and horrified by your death.”

Or Ben-Ari, a former resident of the kibbutz, wrote on Facebook that she knew Semiatiz because she “used to run the community store where I grew up. I remember her fondly, always with a joke or a concern for me and my family… a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. She will be missed dearly.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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