Those We Have Lost

Staff Sgt. Dvir Zakai, 20: Golani soldier was always the ‘peacemaker’

Killed battling Hamas terrorists at the Nahal Oz IDF outpost on October 7

Staff Sgt. Dvir Zakay who was killed in Nahal Oz on October 7, 2023. (IDF)
Staff Sgt. Dvir Zakay who was killed in Nahal Oz on October 7, 2023. (IDF)

Staff Sgt. Dvir Zakai, 20, a Golani soldier from Tiberias, was killed battling Hamas terrorists at the Nahal Oz IDF outpost on October 7.

He was slain alongside his commander, Maj. Shilo Har-Even, and four other Golani soldiers who were shot dead while trying to defend the base from a terrorist invasion.

Dvir is survived by his parents, Sarit and Yaakov, and his siblings, Adir and Noa. He was buried on October 11 in Tiberias.

Loved ones noted that Dvir loved to play soccer, competing in youth league for years, and was a quiet, modest presence and a peacemaker among his friends.

His grandmother, Ariella Zakai, wrote to him on Facebook on what would have been his 21st birthday: “Dvirush, our dear and handsome grandson, today we are celebrating your 21st birthday without you. Our beautiful and pure soul. You are so missed, our hero. Endless longing. I miss your texts, my king. I can’t believe you won’t ever come back. My heart cries, broken, shattered.”

His friend, Elay Asayag, wrote on Instagram about being “almost always together,” in school and in the army, sharing a photo of them finishing their 65-km “beret march” together.

“It’s hard not to see you in the battalion, or to call you when I get home on the weekends. What I know is that you are watching from above and I’m sure that you are proud,” he continued. “My brother, I wish I could be next to you and speak to you again… For such a long time we held each other up to not break during our entire army journey together. I have so many more things to say to you, but I’ll keep them to myself for now.”

Asayag noted that he and Dvir were born on the exact same day, “and I remember how every birthday you would call me to say mazel tov and I would send you a mazel tov back, and we would laugh together that we were born on the same day. So don’t worry, on every one of my birthdays, I will remember that it is also your day. Despite the sadness I will try to be happy and celebrate for you as well.”

At a ceremony marking 30 days since October 7, his mother, Sarit, recalled Dvir as a “smiley baby, energetic, full of joy.”

“His commanders said he was the peacemaker of the platoon, wanted everyone to always get along. An exemplary fighter, and a gifted Negevist, who knew how to act just like a commander,” Sarit said. “He was always a unique son and brother, today we understand that he was our shoulder. He became a quiet and humble young man, who liked to be in his own corner. Not for one second would he ever forget to say thank you for every little thing that was done for him.”

Sarit said that “not a day would go by that he wouldn’t ask how we are, and calm us that everything was great for him… We will forever remember our hero, who protected us with his body.”

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