Those we have lost

Margit & Yossi Silberman, 63 & 67: South Americans put down kibbutz roots

Murdered in Kibbutz Nir Oz October 7 while their daughter, Shiri Bibas, was taken captive with her husband and two children

Margit Silberman Shnaider and Yosi Silberman were killed on October 7, 2023, by Hamas terrorists during a massacre of Kibbutz Nir Oz (Courtesy)
Margit Silberman Shnaider and Yosi Silberman were killed on October 7, 2023, by Hamas terrorists during a massacre of Kibbutz Nir Oz (Courtesy)

Margit Shnaider Silberman, 63, and her husband Yosef José Luis (Yossi) Silberman, 67, were murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7 in Kibbutz Nir Oz, where they lived.

Yossi, an Argentinian native who had lived in Israel for 40 years, was among the first to cultivate the kibbutz’s crops. Margit immigrated to Israel in the 1970s from Peru along with her family. The couple were last seen being abducted from their home in the kibbutz during the onslaught.

On the day of the attack, a video released by Hamas on social media showed the couple alive. Yossi Shnaider, Margit’s nephew, expressed concern to the Peruvian press about her health, as she required numerous medications daily for her Parkinson’s disease. Sadly, the Silbermans were later found dead and their bodies were officially identified on October 21, with their funeral following two days later.

The Silbermans’ daughter, Shiri Bibas, 32, her husband Yarden Bibas, 34, and their two young children, nine-month-old Kfir and four-year-old Ariel, also residents of Nir Oz, were taken captive to Gaza.

The couple are also survived by their daughter Dana.

Yossi was remembered as a longtime worker at the kibbutz auto shop, while Margit was known for her long career in education in Nir Oz.

Margit’s brother, Bezalel Shnaider, told Makor Rishon that his sister “was a very gentle woman, always smiling.” He noted that Margit felt a connection to religion, and would light candles and fast on Yom Kippur, while Yossi did not, “but despite the differences between them, even though they thought differently politically, they lived happily together. They were both gentle people, they never argued, they raised their daughters with excellent manners.”

Liora Ben Horin, a fellow kibbutz member, noted in a memorial social media post that Margit would always play the role of the dreidel mascot on Hanukkah.

Ben Horin wrote that Margit “always had a talent for the arts, and every assignment she took on in kindergarten was completed with diligence and precision.” She worked in education, and “despite the many pranks and shenanigans we played on our new nanny, Margit always remained calm, never got angry or lost her peace… I knew her as a nanny in my childhood, as a colleague in kindergarten and then as a nanny to my eldest son.”

She said that the couple, both Margit and Yossi, “always showed interest in our well-being,” especially after her husband was injured during the 2014 war with Gaza: “We felt that they genuinely cared and that they were not put off by our difficulty and pain.”

Amir Zinder, who spent a year working in Nir Oz, wrote that Yossi was “the first person who taught me how to weld and how to be a locksmith — he saw himself as — and he truly was — a mentor to me.”

Zinder said he “very much enjoyed working with him and laughing with him so much at the same time.” He wanted to express thanks, he wrote, “for the breakfasts, the lectures on socialism and Karl Marx, the joint love of cold pizza in the morning, and primarily for the opportunity to get to know a man like him.”

Yossi was very much looking forward to retirement, he wrote, “and just a week before his farewell barbecue and retirement, he was murdered.”

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