‘Now they’re meeting up above’: Cousins killed fighting for IDF in Gaza, 3 weeks apart

Deaths of Sgt. Daniel Levy and Staff Sgt. Yedidya Azugi within a short time frame have devastated the family; Levy’s father says ‘both of them fulfilled their dreams’

IDF soldiers Daniel Levy (left) and Yedidya Azugi (right), who were first cousins and died in fighting in Gaza in separate incidents in May 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF soldiers Daniel Levy (left) and Yedidya Azugi (right), who were first cousins and died in fighting in Gaza in separate incidents in May 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed this month were first cousins, dealing a double blow to their grieving family.

Staff Sgt. Yedidya Azugi, 21, of the Paratrooper Brigade’s 101st Battalion, was killed while fighting Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, the military said Thursday, while on May 10 it announced the death of Sgt. Daniel Levy, 19, of the Nahal Brigade’s 931st Battalion, during a battle in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood.

Azugi lived in the West Bank settlement of Revava and is survived by his parents and five siblings. Levy lived in Kiryat Motzkin, north of Haifa, with his father, David.

“The family’s pain is absolutely terrible,” David Levy told the Ynet news site Thursday. “My mother lost two grandsons in a short time span.”

The soldiers’ 82-year-old grandmother, Ninet, also lives in Kiryat Motzkin.

“Both of them were soldiers, both of them were fighters, both of them were fighting in Gaza. Their deaths are so close to each other. It’s crazy and incomprehensible,” said the father.

“Mom received the message that Yedidya died yesterday at 11:30 p.m. We received the news, us three brothers and our sister Dalia, who is Yedidya’s mom. We went to our mother’s home to let her know. We brought along with us the mayor of Kiryat Motzkin, Tziki Avisar, because he knows the family and knows my mom well. We thought it might make things easier,” he added.

“These two grandsons were so close” to their grandmother, he said. “Our beloved Yedidya was simply a copy of Daniel. Both of them are so similar in their personalities — humble, modest, with respect for others and respect for parents, grandfathers and grandmothers.

“That’s only part of what characterized them. Both of them chose to go into combat. They picked the hard way… and both of them fulfilled their dreams.”

David Levy told Ynet that two days before Daniel was killed, the two cousins spoke on the phone, likely for the last time.

“They talked about going into Gaza and agreed that they’d try to see each other there. Unfortunately, now they’re meeting each other up above. I’m sure they’re together, and I’m sure they’re looking out for each other,” he said.

“Just last week, my sister Dalia came to console me, and now I’m going to console her.”

Two hundred and ninety-two soldiers have been killed during the ground offensive against Hamas and amid operations along the Gaza border. A civilian Defense Ministry contractor has also been killed in the Strip.

War broke out on October 7 when Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping 252.

Most Popular
read more: