Those We Have Lost

Master Sgt. (res.) Naftali Gordon, 32: A man of ‘honesty and justice’

Killed in combat in the Gaza Strip on December 7

Naftali Gordon who was killed in Gaza on December 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Naftali Gordon who was killed in Gaza on December 7, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Master Sgt. (res.) Naftali Yonah Gordon, 32, a soldier in the 188th Armored Brigade’s 53rd Battalion, was killed in battle in Gaza on December 7.

Naftali, who was a physiotherapist in Jerusalem, leaves behind his wife, Pesi, two daughters, Libi and Gefen, his parents Beaty and Daniel, and his siblings, Yaakov, Sara, Shira, Rivka and Dvash. He was buried on December 10 on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl.

He was born in the US, and made aliyah with his family when he was a toddler.

Speaking at Naftali’s funeral, his wife Pesi, who lost her sister Malki Roth in the 2001 Sbarro bombing, said that he was a perfect husband and father.

“Since you entered my life, it’s been full of light,” she said. “I wanted to grow old with you, you will always be mine and I will always be yours.”

She also promised him that she would raise their two daughters with joy.

Naftali’s mother Beaty Gordon said her son had been an excellent swimmer and loved jogging. She also said he always wanted to help people.

His sister Shira Posner echoed this, saying that he was a “man of action” and a “man of honesty and justice who was filled with joy and humor.”

Naftali’s fellow soldiers said he had been like a brother to them and that he had regularly put himself at risk for them.

Over Hanukkah, Naftali’s clinic dedicated one of the holiday nights to their lost friend. They described him as having been deeply loved by his whole team.

“Naftali was everything,” they said before the candles were lit. “He had golden hands that could build and repair anything, and he was very smart, giving, kind, and modest.”

A former physiotherapist at the clinic, Effi Hileli, told Mynet that Naftali was a friend to everyone and had easily fit into the team when he first joined.

He had also been set to begin a process management and clinical training course.

The physiotherapy clinic’s manager, Joanie Meron, told Jerusalem Mynet news, “He had endless patience which stemmed from an incredible combination of him being a wonderful, caring, and hardworking person alongside his outstanding wisdom and expertise.”

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