Those We Have Lost

Ortal Benayun, 24: Cancer survivor who just wanted to dance

Murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Supernova music festival on October 7

Ortal Bobtas-Ben Ayun (Courtesy)
Ortal Bobtas-Ben Ayun (Courtesy)

Ortal Bobtas-Benayun, 24, from Jerusalem, was murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Supernova music festival on October 7.

She attended the festival with her boyfriend, Daniel Ohana, who was also slain, and her sister, Shirel, who was wounded and survived. Shirel’s boyfriend, Aviel Oren, was also murdered at the rave. Ortal was buried in Jerusalem on October 15.

She is survived by her parents, Michael and Rivka Julia, and her three siblings.

Ortal and her sister posted Instagram stories from the festival of them dancing and celebrating just hours before the Hamas onslaught began.

Ortal worked as a waitress at the Hamotzi restaurant in Jerusalem. Its chef, Avi Levy, told Ynet that her loss was “simply heartbreaking.”

Levy said he last saw her on Thursday evening, during a busy shift at the restaurant just hours before she was slain: “This is a huge loss for us. We called Ortal tzutzikit because she was little, fast, efficient and was in every place. Ortal was patient and very responsible.”

She was a graduate of the Nirim Youth Village for at-risk youth, which described her in a statement as “having a big soul and a wide heart, full of joy for life in the face of all the difficulties and circumstances. She had a captivating personality, a sense of humor and a spiciness, which won over many people.”

Her close friend, Avishag Fahima, described her on Instagram as “a ray of light, a pillar of strength to us and to so many people who love you so much.”

“You know that I can’t stop remembering our experiences together in life,” she continued. “You were a friend but [it was] not a regular friendship, a sister, a soulmate… since I was 13 until today, a friendship where we lived together, dreamed together, laughed together… and now? Now I am left with memories, photos, and WhatsApp recordings which I play all the time because I just miss hearing you.”

Her sister Shirel, who lost both Ortal and her own boyfriend during the massacre, wrote on Instagram on November 7: “A month ago the life that I knew ended.”

“Ortal fought cancer and she defeated it — she just wanted to live and to make her dreams come true and to travel around the world and to have a family,” wrote Shirel. “Ortal was a free butterfly, nothing stopped her from living, she knew how to get up from every fall and to emerge stronger — she was so strong and opinionated, she was a good person to everyone.”

Shirel wrote that they went together to the party with their boyfriends, “we enjoyed, we danced, we laughed, we never imagined that’s how our lives would end, never believed that the dreams we wanted to come true would stand still forever. My sister was the soul you would want to meet on a bad day, she was everything — and not just because she was my sister, because of her good heart, her desire to lift the spirits of every person she met.”

“I miss you more each day than the day before, I love you every day more than yesterday,” she continued. “We were everything to each other, we went through a lot of pain that only you and I understand, and now it’s just me left here to understand and to hold onto the pain.”

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