ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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Those We Have Lost

Noam Slotki, 31, Yishay Slotki, 24: Brothers fought and died together

Killed battling terrorists near Kibbutz Alumim, October 7, the siblings are now buried side by side at Mount Herzl

Yishay (left) and Noam Slotkin (IDF)
Yishay (left) and Noam Slotkin (IDF)

Neither Noam or Yishay Slotki were in active military service when air raid sirens began to ring where they lived in Beersheba, early Saturday morning on October 7.

But when the two brothers began to realize the scale of the Hamas assault on Israel that day, they chose to race together to the frontline in an attempt to aid in defending the southern border towns under attack, even before they ever received a call-up to the reserves.

Master Sgt. (res.) Noam Slotki, 31, and Sgt. First Class Yishay Slotki, 24, were both killed that day in the fighting near Kibbutz Alumim. Five days later, the brothers — who each left behind a wife and a baby — were buried side by side on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

Noam most recently served as a combat medic in the Carmeli Brigade, while Yishay was a soldier in the Oded Brigade.

“They understood that there was a need to help Israel immediately, that the army was not able to arrive at that time to save the towns near Gaza, and they took on the task themselves,” said their father, Rabbi Shmuel Slotki — the outgoing rabbi of the Young Israel synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot, home to many immigrant families — in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

“Like many others, they enlisted for this task on their own and without being called… it’s really an incredible thing — the spirit of heroism, the spirit of responsibility, dedication to the people of Israel,” he added.

The father of seven, Rabbi Slotki was called up at the start of the war to assist in the monumental effort to identify the bodies of those who were murdered by Hamas. He continued such work even during the five days when his two sons were unaccounted for, before their remains were discovered and their deaths confirmed.

Following the mourning period, Yishay’s twin brother, Yonatan, returned to fighting on the front lines as a reservist along the northern border, admitting that it is “a little tough on my parents.”

“People told me, ‘your brothers are heroes’ but to us it was so obvious — that’s the personal responsibility we grew up with,” Yonatan told Arutz Sheva. “As soon as you realize that it’s not just our family’s issue, not only our personal pain, but rather a story of the entire nation of Israel, to protect the State of Israel, everything else is dwarfed.”

Yonatan said losing a twin brother, after they grew up side by side and shared most of their lives together, was something “indescribable.”

Noam’s former comrade, Omer Levy, eulogized his friend on Facebook as someone heroic and brave who always had a smile on their face.

“You were the best among us — you were, even to speak about you in the past tense is unthinkable,” Levy wrote. “You were the best among us and you proved this on Shabbat, when you drove from Beersheba when you heard there was trouble in the south, you left a wife and a young daughter and you just went to save people.”

Levy wrote that throughout their friendship, “You made the difficult things seem easy and you always did it with a smile…  during our last reservist training I remember that we saw each other and the smile and the joy and emotion felt automatic.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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