Those we have lost

Roland and Ronit Sultan, 68 & 55: Immigrant couple built kibbutz life

Murdered by Hamas terrorists in their home in Kibbutz Holit on October 7

Ronit and Roland Sultan (Courtesy)
Ronit and Roland Sultan (Courtesy)

Roland Joseph Charles Sultan, 68, and his wife, Ronit Tal (Rudman) Sultan, 55, were murdered by Hamas terrorists in their home in Kibbutz Holit on October 7.

They are survived by their children Adam and Tom, and two grandchildren, as well as Ronit’s mother, Sara, Roland’s sister, Nathalie, and other relatives.

Their daughter-in-law, Nir Caspi Sultan, told La’Isha magazine that Ronit texted them at 7:56 a.m. to say, “Take care of yourselves” and a minute later added, “I love you.” Ten minutes later she texted a friend that the terrorists were “at the entrance to the house, trying to get in.” That was the last they were heard from.

The couple were among 15 people living in the kibbutz who were murdered by Hamas that day. They were buried in Ashdod on October 19.

Roland, a native of Tunisia, moved to France as a teenager and made his way to Israel a few years later. Ronit was born in Israel to immigrants from Argentina, who went back there when she was a child, and she returned herself at age 18, according to La’Isha. The couple met at Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, wed and had their two children. They later spent four years in Argentina and then returned to Israel and settled in Kibbutz Holit.

The family said that despite their native tongues of French and Spanish, the couple raised their children on the kibbutz in Hebrew.

Roland worked for many years as the community manager of Holit, before retiring less than a year before he was killed. Yoav Boukay, the man who took his place in the role, noted that Roland “knew every single thing in Holit.”

When he took over the job in December 2022, Yoav said he asked Roland if he wanted more time to wrap things up: “Roland gave me an inscrutable look and said he has been waiting for the moment to retire. That he has many things to do and he needs a little rest from his many activities in the kibbutz. So he retired and started to renovate his house.”

Ronit worked most of her life in early childhood education, and in her later years decided to return to academia, beginning her bachelor’s degree at Sapir College in Sderot at age 40. At the time of her death, she had been working for five years on a doctorate at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, which explored the role of art as protest during the military junta which ruled Argentina from 1976-1983.

Prof. Ronit Milano, who was her thesis adviser, told Globes that Ronit “started her studies from nothing until she became a valued researcher. Everyone sought her advice. At her funeral and shiva, her sons said how much her research made her happy, how much joy it brought to their home.”

At the same time, she was also an instructor at Sapir College. Dr. Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler described her to La’Isha as a “super-talented and dedicated lecturer, who made sure to see all of her students. In the summer she was supposed to teach her first course with a doctorate, in the communications department, on ethics and visual culture. She was so excited for it.”

Their daughter-in-law Nir described Roland as “a bit mischievous, and he always knew how to say something to break the ice. He cared very much about people and it was hard not to love him.”

Ronit, she said, “was practical, but she always tried to make things light and say that everything would be OK.”

The couple “always took care of each other and completed each other — I never saw them fighting or arguing. They really loved their children and their grandchildren. If I ever even mentioned any difficulty, they immediately jumped in to help.”

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