ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Those we have lost

Shani Gabay, 25: Law school grad who loved dogs and travel

Murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Supernova music festival on October 7; remains identified only 7 weeks later

Shani Gabay (Courtesy)
Shani Gabay (Courtesy)

Shani Gabay, 25, of Yokne’am, was murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7 at the Supernova music festival.

She is survived by her mother, Rachel, father, Yaakov, sister Nitzan and brother Aviel.

She was considered missing for more than six weeks, until parts of her remains were finally recovered and identified on November 22 by Israel Antiquities Authority workers sifting through remains. Gabay, a recent law school graduate who had been working at the party, was last seen taking shelter at a police command post after being shot in the leg on the morning of October 7.

She called her mother at 6:40 a.m., telling her about the stream of rockets and asking what she should do, according to her older brother, Aviel Gabay, in a lengthy video posted on social media. She was in her car at the time, and her mother told her to pull over and find a secure place. She found a field shelter near Kibbutz Alumim and went there, not yet knowing at the time there were terrorists gunning down partygoers in addition to the rockets.

Terrorists threw grenades into the shelter, according to Gabay’s two friends who stayed in the shelter and survived, each one losing a leg. Gabay was pulled out of the shelter and appeared to have returned to her car, where she was shot. She made her way to a paramedic who took her to the police command post.

Her family and friends remembered her as devoted to her dog Alpha, loving to attend desert festivals and raves, and a fan of global travel.

“She knows everyone,” said Aviel while she was still missing. “We keep meeting people at the rallies who see her photo and know her from Costa Rica, or the army or their studies. She cleans beaches and saves cats and dogs. I want to believe she’ll continue doing all of that.”

Gabay was laid to rest in Yokne’am on November 23, a week before she would have turned 26.

Her sister, Nitzan, said at the funeral, “Everyone is waiting to hear what I have to say about you, but how could I begin to sum you up? You were the one who was good with words, and you’re not here now.”

“We were sisters by the book — we’d fight, laugh, blow up, then ask for forgiveness, or just pretend nothing happened,” she said. “We’d steal clothes from each other, or more accurately, you from me… the hole you have left cannot be filled. What am I supposed to do now?”

Shani’s mother, Rachel, also eulogized her daughter at the funeral.

“I’m sorry that I couldn’t direct you what to do in that moment,” her mother wept. “I’m sorry I didn’t really understand what happened then… how much I hoped, how much I prayed.”

“I thought you were on vacation and coming back soon, but from this trip you will never return,” she added. “I’ve met so many people who knew you, you connected to everyone, got along with everyone.”

Her mother said she wishes “I could wake you up in the morning for work and you’ll be irritated and ask for a few more minutes to sleep… and make you a sandwich to eat on the train on the way, and you’ll send me a text, ‘Thanks mom, it was really tasty.'”

“My beautiful girl, now you really are my angel. There is no angel more beautiful than you… I hope you know how much I love you, how much I always loved you, and will always love you.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here. 

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