Those we have lost

Kobi Shmaya, 47 & Sgt. Osher Shmaya, 19: Father & son slain together

Shot dead by Hamas terrorists in their car near Re’im on October 7

Kobi Shmaya (left) and his son Sgt. Osher Shmaya (Courtesy)
Kobi Shmaya (left) and his son Sgt. Osher Shmaya (Courtesy)

Yaakov “Kobi” Shmaya, 47, and his son, Sgt. Osher Shmaya, 19, a soldier in the Gaza Division, from Beersheba, were killed by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

Osher was at home on break from the army, and on Saturday morning with the start of the Hamas rocket attack, he decided he needed to head back to his base next to Kibbutz Re’im. His father Kobi agreed to drive him back to the base, and along the way, the pair were both shot dead in their vehicle.

“I have some comfort that they were killed together because they were found in an embrace,” Evlin Shmaya, Kobi’s wife and Osher’s mother, told La’isha.

The family was notified about Osher’s death three days later, but were not informed that Kobi’s body had been identified until a week after the attack. Evlin — who had been told by someone on the scene that they were found together — waited for the news about Kobi so that the father and son could be buried together.

Osher and Kobi were both buried in Beersheba on October 15. They are survived by their mother/wife Evlin and children/siblings Ofek, 18, and Alyn, 10. Kobi is also survived by his parents, Eliyahu and Chana.

Kobi was a truck driver with a recycling company, and Osher was serving as a cook in the army.

The pair were devoted fans of the Hapoel Beersheba soccer team, and Osher himself was a promising player with F.C. Beersheba and received unending support from his father.

Osher’s coach Moshe Kugman told Sport 5 that he recalled once a game where it was pouring out, and Kobi was just about the only spectator in the stands, “and I turned to him and I said, ‘Kobi, are you crazy? Go home,’ and Kobi said to me, ‘Wherever he goes, I go.'”

The family staged a soccer tournament in Beersheba in the pair’s memory.

Osher’s girlfriend, Bar, told the TV channel that she “still feels like he’s going to open the door and say, ‘Hi sweetie, I’m here.’ But it won’t happen.”

“He was my first love, he was my first kiss, he was the first guy I brought home,” said Bar.

In a letter published on the Mako news site, Ofek wrote to his father, Kobi, that he “had the privilege of growing up with you for 18.5 years, during which you took care of, loved, spoiled, made me laugh, and occasionally got angry.”

“You will always be my father, and I your son,” he continued. “The job has fallen to me, without me asking for it, to fill the loss of you and Osher. You were the pillar of the house, and Osher, my big brother, a role model to me and to Alyn, and mom’s best friend. And you Dad, are so missed by Mom, but she is a warrior and we are learning to cope.”

Evlin told a local Beersheba news outlet in December that she misses everything about her husband and son.

“Their words, their conversations, to hug them, do their laundry, cook for them — I miss their presence,” she said. “I would swap places with Osher if I could… A mother isn’t meant to bury her son,” she added. “I don’t feel like my life is the same life, and every minute without them feels like an eternity.”

Evlin said that Osher “was a boy that any mother would want, and because he was such a good and handsome boy, such a talented soccer player, I always told him that ‘one day you’ll be famous and people will know about you.’ I didn’t mean it this way. Soccer flowed in Osher’s blood, and Kobi loved soccer at the same level, so much so that Osher started playing soccer at age 5 or 6.”

“Osher was a kid who everyone loved being around, he never liked arguing, he was always laughing, always happy, respected others, respected his parents, his teachers at school, the army,” Evlin added. “People have only good things to say about this kid, he was my eldest son and he was my best friend.”

About her husband, Evlin said that “there is nobody who would ask for help and Kobi wouldn’t show up first to help. Really, he was one big heart, he did everything for our home, it was important for him to put the house and the kids first, and only afterward himself. A very beloved man.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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