Those we have lost

Entire Siman Tov family: Murdered by Hamas in Kibbutz Nir Oz

Tamar and Yonatan, and their daughters Shahar and Arbel, and son Omer, all slain together in safe room

The Kedem Siman Tov family, murdered in their safe room in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, 2023. (Facebook)
The Kedem Siman Tov family, murdered in their safe room in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, 2023. (Facebook)

Tamar Kedem Siman Tov, 35, her husband Yonatan “Johnny” Siman Tov, 36, their 5.5-year-old twin daughters, Shahar and Arbel, and son Omer, 2, were all murdered by Hamas terrorists in their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7.

Johnny’s mother, Carol Siman Tov, was also killed in her own home in the kibbutz.

Tamar was survived by her parents, Gadi and Reuma, and her siblings; Johnny was survived by his siblings.

Around 6:30, loved ones said, Tamar messaged a moms’ WhatsApp group in the kibbutz to ask if everyone was OK. At 9:48 a.m., she wrote that she had been wounded and that was the last anyone heard from her. Johnny texted his sister, Ranae Butler, “They’re here, they’re burning us, we’re suffocating,” she told CNN.

“He and his wife were shot through the window, they managed to keep the window closed… they decided they’d [rather] suffer from smoke inhalation together and they held up while wounded,” Butler said. “Great bravery, I’m so proud of them.”

A joint funeral for all six members of the family was held in Kibbutz Lahav on October 19.

Tamar grew up in Jerusalem and Johnny was raised in Nir Oz. The couple met during their army service and settled in the kibbutz.

Tamar was an artist and was also running to be mayor of the Eshkol region in elections that were supposed to be held in October and were delayed by the war. Johnny was an operations manager of the tractors and agricultural tools and grew wheat in the kibbutz.

In a eulogy, the kibbutz noted that the family “lived a peaceful and happy life on the same kibbutz where Johnny grew up. But on that terrible day, it was all cut short — too quickly, and far too soon. The Kedem family was a happy family until their last moments. That’s how we’ll always remember them.”

Amir Zinder, who spent a year working in Nir Oz, wrote that “John was an admired figure throughout the kibbutz, the one everyone wanted would love them, the one all the national service volunteers spoke about… He managed everything with a smile and a huge passion for the fields of the kibbutz.”

Tamar’s sister, Noa Kedem, said Tamar was “a painter and worked in art, she was an educator and a social entrepreneur. She was a total autodidact,” Noa told Haaretz. “Everything she touched was a masterpiece. Everything got a creative treatment. When Yonatan had to explain something to the Thai farm workers connected to work, she would make them drawings so they could get over the language barrier.”

Noa said that Johnny “had the hands of an artist, he taught Tamari to weld. A true handyman. Everyone knew that if you needed help, you go to John, and the answer was always yes. They had a great love between them and perfect synergy. He pushed her and allowed her to do what she loved and dreamed of. Without him, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Reuma Kedem, Tamar’s mother, wrote online a month following their murders: “Tamar, John, Arbeli, Shahar and Omriko, our beloved. The world has seen only your names written on my skin, but I want the world to know what a shining and huge light you were for us. In this world and the world to come. I love you my angels and fairies. Forever and ever you will light our world.”

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