Those We Have Lost

Sgt. Maj. Yulia Vakser, 37: Warrior police officer and devoted mom

Killed while working at the Supernova music festival on October 7

Israel Police Sgt. Maj. Yulia Vakser who was murdered at the Supernova music festival on October 7, 2023. (Facebook)
Israel Police Sgt. Maj. Yulia Vakser who was murdered at the Supernova music festival on October 7, 2023. (Facebook)

Israel Police Sgt. Maj. Yulia Vakser, 37, bureau chief at the South District Operations Division, from Beersheba, was killed battling Hamas terrorists at the Supernova music festival on October 7.

Vakser was working a shift guarding the festival that morning. Although her shift had been slated to finish at 6 a.m., she ended up staying. “With her calm, she saved the lives of many partygoers,” Police Commander Amir Klein told Ynet. “She was the first one to alert me from the party about the terrorists who were shooting and the killings, thanks to her we understood there was a massacre going on in Re’im.”

Klein said that Vakser’s “request that we send backup, while under gunfire, led me to connect to the army and to send forces there,” noting that she sent photos of those who had been killed and wounded, and “through her, I understood how pressing it was to send forces to Rei’m to save the young people who were still alive who had nowhere to hide.”

He said that at around 9 a.m., she sent him a message saying “pray for me,” and within half an hour she was no longer answering. Her phone was later geolocated to Gaza.

“Yulia was a wonderful woman, simply a warrior — in life and in death,” said Klein. “On her day off she went to earn money and secure the partygoers at the festival. She took care of her parents, her family. She took on the yoke of providing for her family so that they would lack nothing.”

It took more than a week for her body to be found and identified, during which her family thought she may have been kidnapped. Her body was identified in part via tattoos she had of her children’s names.

Yulia is survived by her husband, Samuel Daunov, and their two children, Shirel, 12, and Liron, 8, as well as her parents, Alexander and Yelena, and a sister, Victoria. She was buried on October 18 in Beersheba.

Born in Ukraine, she moved to Israel in 1996 as a child with her family. She joined the police as part of her mandatory service in 2005, and stayed on for close to 20 years until she was killed.

Her relative, Svetlana, posted on Instagram: “Yulechka, our dear girl. Sweet, kind, funny and so bright… warm like the sun… The world went dark without your smile… our angel, rest in peace.”

Her husband, Samuel, told the Kan public broadcaster that Yulia didn’t think twice about staying at the festival to help after her shift ended: “She decided to stay. Of course, she didn’t think otherwise. She’s a hero, she was always a woman like that. Even though she’s not a field officer, she was usually in the station.”

Samuel said that at 9:14 a.m., she sent him one final message: “‘Take care of the kids, I love all of you,’ she wrote. And that’s it. Those are the last words I heard from her,” he said.

“She was the light of the house, our pillar of strength,” he added. “A very dominant mother at home, at a level that’s hard to describe. The kids were everything to her. She was also a very happy woman. I don’t know what we’ll do without her now.”

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