Those We Have Lost

Lilach Kipnis, 60: Child trauma specialist and peace activist

Dual Israeli-Italian citizen was murdered in Kibbutz Be’eri, October 7, as part of a large extended family that was slaughtered or kidnapped

Lilach Havron Kipnis, seen in an undated photo provided by her family. (Kipnis Family via AP)
Lilach Havron Kipnis, seen in an undated photo provided by her family. (Kipnis Family via AP)

Lilach Havron Kipnis, 60, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7.

Lilach and her husband, Eviatar, both Italian-Israeli citizens, were originally thought to have been taken captive in Gaza following Hamas’s deadly rampage through southern Israel, along with many other members of their extended family.

But on October 17, the family learned that the remains of Eviatar Kipnis, 65, had been identified. On October 23, the family learned that Lilach was also declared dead.

Lilach’s sister Shoshan Haran, 67, Shoshan’s daughter Adi, 38, a psychologist, her husband Tal, and their two children Yahel Neri, 3, and Naveh, 8; as well as Shoshan’s sister-in-law Sharon Avigdori, a special needs psychologist, and her 12-year-old daughter, Noam, were all kidnapped and held captive in Gaza for seven weeks. On November 25, Shoshan, Adi, Yahel, Nave, Sharon and Noam were all freed; Tal remains in captivity.

Shoshan’s husband, Avshalom Haran, was found dead the same day that Eviatar’s remains were discovered.

Aviv Havron, an editor at Yediot Aharonot and Lilach’s brother, said the family has barely been able to mourn its losses as it continues to fight for the return of their captive loved ones, “because they can still be saved.”

Lilach was a social worker who for years treated children with trauma, and wrote a children’s book in 2021 aimed at helping them deal with the pain and fears of constant rocket fire, based on her years of treatment in the field.

She ended the book — which offers guidelines on how to deal with fears and anxiety amid rocket fire and sirens — with a hope for better days: “The day will come, and I hope it will come fast, we will all sit together and remember, how once upon a time everything startled us, and now everything is normal. A difficult period, but it passed, and finally now we have routine.”

Her son, Nadav Kipnis, told the Ynet news site that “my mother mostly treated children in the Eshkol region [near Gaza], and a central part of her work was dealing with trauma linked to war and rockets. She didn’t write the book to make money, rather to provide a tool for parents of children who experience this anxiety as a daily part of life.”

Yotam Kipnis, their other son, spoke at her funeral about his mother’s years of treating traumatized children as well as her extensive peace activism, “because my mother not only treated the damages of war, she also fought so that future generations would not have to deal with them.”

Yotam said that his mother was active with Women Wage Peace and Women in Black, anti-war movements which call for a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Mom was a member of movements which believed that we all deserve — no matter religion, race or gender — a better future,” he said. “Her support for peace came from her connection to the land and her deep familiarity with war, and also with the human soul. Because even in the darkest times, mom did not forget what light looks like.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

Most Popular
read more: