Staff Sergeant Teshager Taka, 21, was killed on October 7 while battling terrorists who attacked the Kissufim military post on the Gaza border, where he was serving as part of the Golani Brigade’s 51st battalion.
Taka, who went by Benny or Benyamin, was three weeks from his scheduled release from the army when terrorists broke into the position, catching troops there off guard. Though without a gun, he managed to find a weapon and kill two attackers before being slain, according to accounts.
His actions were credited with saving the life of at least one of his fellow soldiers.
The second of six children born to parents Derba and Ziva, Taka and his family moved to Israel from his native Ethiopia when he was five months old. The family stayed in Rishon Lezion for over a decade before moving to Jerusalem several years ago.
Before entering the IDF, Taka attended the Erez pre-army academy in Beersheba, a decision his mother Ziva said was made “in order to contribute as much as possible. That’s how he was.”
“It all started with the question of who I am and where I want to go in life. At the academy, I found answers,” he wrote in a retrospective for the school, according to a memorial Instagram post. “I discovered what I want to do with life. To do as much good as possible. To give and feel like I am receiving.”
Friends and family described Taka as always smiling and a positive presence to be around.
“Our Benny was a grinner, always laughing with that massive smile of his,” said Ziva. “Everywhere he went he would spread light and joy. He was a child with a huge heart, the biggest heart.”
“He loved life and loved people. He would turn friends into family,” she added.
Taka’s cousin Tigest Verga Taka told the Mynet news site that Taka “loved the camaraderie in the army, the warmth and familial atmosphere.”
Rabbi Shachar Aylin, a leader of the Ethiopian-Israeli community in Jerusalem’s Katamonim neighborhood, remembered Taka as “an innocent kid, a good kid.”
“He always had only a smile, loved his friends, modest. He was a good student too,” said Aylin.