Those We Have Lost

Nira Ronen, 86: Kibbutz pioneer and grandmother of 12

Murdered by Hamas terrorists in her home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza

Nira Ronen (Courtesy)
Nira Ronen (Courtesy)

Nira Ronen, 86, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in her home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7.

She was slain alongside her Filipina caregiver, Angelyn Aguirre, after she refused to leave her patient’s side.

Her family said she spoke to them that morning and said she was afraid and hiding in the safe room. An hour later, the connection was cut off, and they never heard from her again.

She is survived by her four children, Chen, Tzlil, Nitzan and Niv, and 12 grandchildren, as well as at least one brother. She was predeceased by her husband, Akiva. Nira was buried in Kibbutz Eyal on October 22.

According to Walla, Nira was born in Kibbutz Afikim and settled in Kfar Aza after her army service and was among its early founders. It was there that she met Akiva Ronen, who became her husband, and they wed on the kibbutz; he died three years ago.

Gil Moalem described Nira as “a mother, grandmother, friend and wonderful neighbor to the members of Kibbutz Kfar Aza.”

In a video posted online in February and filmed not long before the massacre, Nira — and other members of the kibbutz, including Bilha Epstein, who was also murdered on October 7 — discuss the early years of building Kfar Aza in the 1950s.

“I arrived in Kfar Aza, and my impression when I got there was like I had arrived in a paradise that had nothing,” Nira said in the film. She said she spent a few months there before enlisting and met Akiva, “and the whole time I was in the army, Akiva would come and visit me — wherever I would go, he was there.” After the army, she decided not to return to Afikim and settled instead in Kfar Aza.

“The place, it had a certain kind of magic,” she said. “It wasn’t beautiful in the time that we arrived, there wasn’t much grass, much anything. But it had a joy of young people who came to do something, that was really important to them. And it was in their hands, they did it.”

At her funeral, her grandson recalled their final conversation as the home she loved was turning into a hellscape.

“Savta, I spoke to you for the last time at 8 a.m. on that terrible Saturday,” her grandson, Omri Ronen, read at her graveside funeral. “You said you were in the safe room with Angie and you were afraid. That there was shooting outside, and knocking on the door. I told you not to worry.”

“My grandmother was honest to a fault,” Omri told Channel 12 news. “She lived a full life, she was smiling, cheerful.”

Omri said that when he finally returned to his grandparents’ home in Kfar Aza, he found a note written in Arabic by one of her killers in her day planner, that read: “You will die here. You won’t stay here.”

“My grandfather and grandmother founded the kibbutz, and this place is theirs and ours,” Omri later wrote online. “We’ll build our home and families here nonetheless, and continue to build a strong, prosperous and developed country.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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