Those we have lost

Sgt. Danit Cohen, 19: Aspiring actress with seven siblings

Killed while battling a Hamas invasion of the Urim IDF base on October 7

Sgt. Danit Cohen (Courtesy)
Sgt. Danit Cohen (Courtesy)

Sgt. Danit Cohen, 19, a soldier in the IDF Southern Command, from Sderot, was killed on October 7 while battling a Hamas invasion of the IDF Urim Base in southern Israel.

Danit and others on base, including Sgt. Shir Shlomo, headed to the base’s war room when the attack began, believing it to be the safest place. There, along with Cpt. Alina Pravosudova and Sgt. Maj. Aharon Farash, they attempted to prevent the terrorists from storming the war room but were unsuccessful. All but two of the soldiers inside were killed, with the only survivors being those who were wounded but played dead. In total, eight soldiers were killed at the Urim base on October 7.

Danit is survived by her parents, Yishai and Hana, and her seven siblings, Tamar-Or, Shirel, Eliya, Lior, Taliya, Shenhav and Meshi. She was buried on October 9 in Noga. Her uncle, Master Sgt. Shimon Barami, was killed during his service in the Border Police in 2011.

She was a graduate of the prestigious Mae Boyar High School in Jerusalem, where she resided in the dorms throughout her time there. In a post announcing her death, the school described Danit as a “brave girl, sensitive, with high self-awareness. Behind her quiet figure, stood a young woman with a rich internal world, high capabilities and an aspiration for excellence.”

A eulogy posted on the Dvorah Forum site, which promotes the integration of women into national security positions, noted that Danit excelled in her army role and had even been asked by her superiors to consider taking an officer’s course. The post noted that she had dreams of one day being an actress, and had always played an active role in school plays, dance competitions and had hosted her own stand-up routines for her friends in the dorms. She also loved to cook and bake, in particular alongside her mother, who always made her favorite foods when she returned home from the army.

Danit’s sister, Taliya, 14, wrote online that when she was home from the army, “We got to do so many things, Danit loved to bake so we always baked her something different… I loved to just watch from the side and see her preparing things with love and joy, and to know that at the end it was for me too.”

“When Danit was with us for the weekends, there was always laughter, not a minute without laughter,” Taliya continued. “She was so funny and laughed at everything, even when it was aimed at her.” Amid the large family, she said, Danit “was someone who you could tell everything to, and always get good advice… With everyone in the family she shared a unique language and she understood everyone, all nine of us.”

Her mother, Hana, told Yediot Aharonot that “Danit loved the army and also the job she chose… I knew that her job was to sit in the war room and report if there was an attack or something else. She never told me any more than that.” Instead, Hana said, Danit would send videos of herself on the job playing happy music in the background and write, “See, I’m listening to good music and everyone is happy.”

Danit, she said, was extremely close to Shir and to Cpl. Lior Levy, who were both slain on the base that day: “Danit was the one who united everyone. Even if she had finished her shift and one of her friends was still on duty, she would stay with them instead of going to sleep.”

She recalled dropping Danit off at her base every Tuesday, after “ironing and arranging her uniform and her suitcase. This was our quality time — 25 minutes from Sderot to the base, we would play happy music… A 19-year-old girl, with so many dreams that were shattered.”

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