Those We Have Lost

Staff Sgt. Hallel Saadon, 21: Horse lover was former camp counselor

Killed battling Hamas terrorists near Sufa on October 7

Staff Sgt. Hallel Shmuel Saadon who was killed in Gaza on November 2, 2023. (IDF)
Staff Sgt. Hallel Shmuel Saadon who was killed in Gaza on November 2, 2023. (IDF)

Staff Sgt. Hallel Shmuel Saadon, 21, a Nahal soldier from Ma’ale Michmas, was killed on October 7 while battling a Hamas invasion near Kibbutz Sufa.

He is survived by his parents, Devora and Elad, and his four younger siblings Tamir, Nevo, Sahar and Uriel. He was buried on October 11 in the military section of the Kfar Etzion cemetery.

Saadon spent time as a camper and counselor at Camp Moshava IO in Pennsylvania, as his grandfather was the camp’s longtime assistant director and his parents regularly worked there.

The camp’s director, Alan Silverman, told a local news outlet that “Hallel was in a bunker guarding along the fence in the south where the terrorists broke through,” adding that “three of the soldiers including Hallel were killed as they tried to prevent them from crossing in, but there was a huge number of them.”

At a ceremony held at a horse ranch in Israel, which staged a competition in his honor, his mother Devora said, “Hallel was a guy with a heart of gold. He would help everyone without making a thing of it and without expecting anything in return.”

“Also during battle on Simhat Torah [on October 7], he fell as he was protecting his comrades,” she said. “He was a cowboy in his heart, deeply connected to horses, to animals and to nature,” she said, noting how much he loved the ranch and taking part in its competitions, including overseas.

“We feel that even though he’s not physically with us, his life has remained here and our job is to spread his light, along with the light that exists in each one of us,” she said. “Like Hallel, you should take advantage of your time, achieve your dreams, and invest in the things you love.”

At a memorial marking 30 days since his death, his great-grandmother Chana said, “I asked him, ‘Isn’t the [army] training difficult?’ and he said, ‘It’s not hard, it’s all good.’ That was this boy.”

Describing their conversations, Chana said that they would speak about “the fact that we’re an ancient nation, we started with Avraham our forefather, and we’re continuing forever. ‘The glory of Israel does not lie!’ We always spoke about the importance of every part [of the nation] being strong. That everyone will be connected to what came before and what came after. It was very important to Hallel,” she said.

“Hallel, in his own way, all of the time, until the end, always was perfect, always with emotion, always with dedication, to take upon himself a huge task — he protected the people, he protected the land,” Chana continued. “We remember him and we are proud of him. With all of the pain.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

Most Popular
read more: