Those we have lost

Maj. Ido Shani, 29: Newlywed commander who sprang into action

Killed while battling Hamas terrorists near Kibbutz Sufa on October 7

Maj. Ido Shani (IDF)
Maj. Ido Shani (IDF)

Maj. Ido Israel Shani, 29, the deputy commander of the Nahal reconnaissance unit, from Ramat Gan, was killed on October 7 while battling Hamas terrorists next to Kibbutz Sufa.

That morning, Ido was the senior officer in charge of the area between Kerem Shalom and Nir Yitzhak across from the southern end of the Gaza Strip. When the Hamas onslaught began while he was out on patrol, he quickly realized that the situation was exceptional, and broadcast over the army radio connection at 6:43 a.m.: “War, I repeat, we are at war. Everyone must defend his front, kill terrorists, good luck.”

He sprang into action, ordering troops to several locations and rousing forces amid the surprise attack. At first he headed to Kerem Shalom, where the families of the observation soldiers stationed there said he saved their lives with his orders. Next, Ido set out for Kibbutz Sufa, and on the way he encountered a cell of terrorists and they engaged in an exchange of fire. He was shot in the head and brought to a nearby kibbutz where he succumbed to his wounds.

“They were just a few against so many,” his wife, Maayan, told the Kan public broadcaster. “They gave everything to protect this area, and to protect the towns here.”

Shortly before 7 a.m., his wife said, he texted her and said “I love you, everything is OK.” That was the last she heard from him.

Ido was buried on October 11 in Bnei Zion. He is survived by his wife, Maayan, his parents, Dvora and Tommy, sister Keren and brothers Eilon and Jonathan.

He was born in Givatayim and grew up on Moshav Batzra. Ido and Maayan had wed just seven months before he was killed and settled in Ramat Gan. On a memorial site set up for him, his family said that he loved to travel and dance, and was “kind, generous, sociable and loved people. A happy man who loved and knew how to influence others, Ido knew how to speak many languages with many people — he could adjust his language to all that he met.”

His aunt, Nurit Kochavi, told Arutz Sheva, “I want to remember Ido the alive, the sweet, smart and sensitive, who was an officer and a gentlemen, and less about the details of how he was killed,” she said. “Ido loved life, loved the army, and paid with his life. That’s our Ido.”

Nurit said Ido was “a man of values, of ethics, integrity and truth. He advanced on the career army ladder, he loved what he did.”

Ido’s older brother, Eilon, told Kan that he himself had an unpleasant experience during his mandatory army service, “and Ido told me that it was important to him to be a commander so that there won’t be commanders like the ones I had. In many ways I think that even though I was his older brother, he was sort of my older brother.”

His father, Tommy, told Kan that after hearing of his actions that day, “we were amazed by his abilities, by his quick understanding of the situation, his peace of mind, his calm.” His mother Dvora said Ido “had a huge smile. He was mischievous and serious, disorganized but responsible… it was just fun to be with him.”

On her 30th birthday, Maayan wrote on Facebook about the pain of reaching a milestone that Ido never will.

“I was so looking forward to reaching this age,” she wrote. “And suddenly it has turned into my first birthday without my Ido… a one-of-a-kind man, sensitive, talented, moral and humane, kind, smart, a leader, brave, funny, loved by all, appreciated and admired.”

“Thank you for every moment I got to be by your side,” she continued. “I am thankful for the joy he brought into my life and the change he brought about in me, and I am also thankful for the privilege of making him happy in his final years. If only they were not his final years, and if only it was not so short.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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