Those We Have Lost

Sgt. Bar Yankilov, 19: Lifelong dream was ‘to defend this country’

Killed battling Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Kissufim on October 7

Sgt. Bar Yankilov who was killed in Kibbutz Kissufim on October 7, 2023. (IDF)
Sgt. Bar Yankilov who was killed in Kibbutz Kissufim on October 7, 2023. (IDF)

Sgt. Bar Yankilov, 19, a soldier in the Paratroopers Brigade, was killed on October 7 battling Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Kissufim.

He was buried on October 12 in his hometown of Karmiel. He is survived by his parents, Batya and Rambam, and his two sisters, Maya and Gal, as well as his girlfriend, Eliya Yanay.

Eliya told Ynet that on Saturday morning, he told his loved ones that his brigade was heading to the front lines to repel the Hamas invasion.

“They didn’t know what they were getting into, they didn’t know the scale of the [attack],” she said. Midday they arrived at Kissufim, she said, to rescue the kibbutz residents: “Bar filled three buses full of civilians and then they started to shoot at them. They said it was intense fire, hundreds of terrorists, firing from 180 degrees. Bar and another three fighters were killed.”

His family said that though he was killed that day, they were not informed of his death until three days later, amid the chaos of the battles along the Gaza border.

Eliya told Channel 14 news that Bar “was special. His love of the nation was his priority, it’s something that his wonderful family always made sure to instill ever since he was a kid… He was planning a military career, he planned to advance to high places, he wanted to defend this country.”

“Bar always said that we would get married, I knew that he was my future,” she added. “We planned to travel around the world, he really loved to travel, loved the country, we traveled a lot around Israel… He was a strong guy, he was Hercules, it’s hard to explain because he really was special, it’s not just another cliche.”

His sister, Gal, wrote on Facebook that she was wondering in the wake of his death “how I can bring the pure soul of my brother into every home.” Then she thought of the fact that “my brother loved to eat challah with spicy matbucha every Friday, he never passed it up every single Friday,” so she decided to make matbucha and challah each weekend in his memory and distribute it to families in the area.

“Bar, you are a hero of an entire nation like so many other heroes,” Gal wrote. “But you are the best because you are my brother. I am a proud sister who still refuses to believe that I won’t see you again. Watch over us from above and I promise to do what I can so that everyone knows what a brave and strong warrior you were.”

His mother, Batya, told a local radio station, “Bar was my youngest, a wonderful kid who from a young age was interested in the heritage of Israel and loved the land and loved traveling around it.”

“He wanted a military career,” she said, and when he was placed in the Paratroopers Brigade, “he was very satisfied and he said, ‘I made it to my place’… I want people to remember Bar and his bravery on behalf of the citizens, and the dreams he had that he did not get to achieve.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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