Those We Have Lost

Ronen Engel, 54: Photographer, dad who was ‘always smiling’

Kidnapped from Nir Oz on October 7, and killed in Hamas captivity

Ronen Engel (Courtesy)
Ronen Engel (Courtesy)

On October 7, Ronen Engel, 54, his wife Karina and their daughters Mika and Yuval were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Oz, where they lived.

On November 27, Karina, Mika and Yuval were freed from Gaza. On December 1, the IDF confirmed that Ronen had been killed in captivity. His body is still held in Gaza.

The family sat shiva in a hotel near the Ichilov Hospital, where Yuval was still being treated after her release, but a funeral was not held.

In addition to his wife and two daughters, Ronen is survived by his son, Tom, who was not home that weekend, as well as siblings and other relatives.

A statement from Kibbutz Nir Oz said Engel was a photographer, volunteer in Magen David Adom and loved motorcycles.

MDA said in a statement that Ronen began volunteering with them around two years ago, and left his house on that Saturday morning with his first responder bag to try and help others.

Yossi Abuharon, the volunteer manager of the Ofakim MDA station, said that Ronen “was always smiling, that was his hallmark. Even when we arrived at the worst of accidents – he managed to make his patients smile and forget their troubles for a moment.”

His friend Idan Greenberg wrote that “every minute spend with [Ronen] put a smile on all of those around him. Since October 7 we waited and hoped for his return… we will miss you always.”

His friend Benny described him on Facebook as “my dear friend, a funny man with a smile which never left his face, a talented photographer, motorbike rider, a friend of 30 years, and of late an Israeli hero.”

His brother Dani wrote: “My brother was truly a hero. Ronen fought for the lives of Karina, Mika and Yuval, and that doesn’t surprise anyone. We all know who Ronen was…. he always looked on the bright side of life.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here. 

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