Those we have lost

Refael Fahimi, 63, Netanel Maskalchi, 36, and Refael Maskalchi, 12

Three generations killed by a rocket fired from Gaza at Netivot, October 7

Refael Meir Maskalchi (left), Netanel Maskalchi (center) and Refael Fahimi (right) (Courtesy)
Refael Meir Maskalchi (left), Netanel Maskalchi (center) and Refael Fahimi (right) (Courtesy)

Refael Fahimi, 63, Netanel Maskalchi, 36 and Refael Meir Maskalchi, 12, a grandfather, son-in-law and grandson, were all killed by a rocket which fell in the southern town of Netivot on October 7.

Fahimi was the father-in-law of Netanel and the grandfather of the young Refael Meir, and they were all together in the Fahimi home celebrating Simhat Torah on that fateful Saturday.

In one instant, Chana Maskalchi lost her father, her husband and her son.

Netanel and Chana, who are part of Netivot’s ultra-Orthodox community, have five other children. Loved ones said that Netanel Maskalchi was a devoted full-time Torah scholar at a yeshiva in the city.

Dina Fahimi, the wife of Refael, told Ynet that her grandson was killed immediately by the rocket, and her husband and son-in-law were taken to a hospital via ambulance and later declared dead. “We’ve been through a terrible trauma that we cannot handle or accept,” she said.

Dina told Channel 14 news that her husband “was everything for us. My whole world.” She said that since the tragedy “we can barely get out of bed in the morning. It’s indescribable… for the five young children we try to get up, but it’s hard. It’s hard to accept, it’s hard to discuss, it burns… it’s a very, very heavy tragedy.”

Friends said that Refael Meir Maskalchi, who was named after his grandfather, was slated to celebrate his bar mitzvah in a few weeks. “Refael was a very unique child, a scholar, a righteous child, who wanted to finish a tractacte [of the Talmud] before his bar mitzvah,” Dina told Channel 14.

At an event marking the 30-day mourning period of their death, a friend who was with Netanel in his final moments said he felt “God was opening up the gates to heaven… to take the pure soul of Netanel… we felt the angels accepting him.”

Haredi musician Pini Einhorn, who has been crisscrossing the country visiting mourning families, said he paid a visit to the Fahimi and Maskalchi families.

“There’s nothing you can say except: ‘I love you.’ We came with a load of toys for the siblings, we sang some quiet hymns with the relatives and we left heartbroken,” he recalled.

And despite it being the 100th shiva house he had attended in the weeks following the Hamas massacre, after that visit, “I was sitting on the couch at home, and I felt I couldn’t get up and go to another shiva.”

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