Those we have lost

Yossi (Zigi) Aptalon, 77: A ‘free spirit’ with an artistic soul

Murdered by Hamas terrorists in his home in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7

Yossi (Zigi) Aptalon (Courtesy)
Yossi (Zigi) Aptalon (Courtesy)

Yossi (Zigi) Aptalon, 77, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in his home in Kibbutz Be’eri on October 7.

Both he and his beloved dog, Elvis, were shot dead inside his home in the kibbutz. His body was not identified for two weeks.

Yossi was buried in Kibbutz Revivim in a temporary burial on October 26. He is survived by his four children, Netta, Zohar, Adi and Tomer, and 13 grandchildren: Shani, Amit, Hadas, Nahar, Goma, Aline, Nir, Shahar, Maayan, Ela, Yoel, Omri and Gili. His wife, Roni, died in 2021.

Born Zigmund aka Zigi in Kazakhstan in 1946, he moved to Israel with his parents at age 4, where he grew up in Yaffo, according to a kibbutz eulogy. He served as a signaller in the army, where he met his future wife, Roni. During a vacation together to Eilat while they were dating, they suffered a bad car accident, in which Yossi lost his left arm.

In the 1980s, after already establishing their own graphics company and having three daughters, they moved to Kibbutz Be’eri, where they had a fourth child and both began working at the famed Be’eri printing press. The couple were known for their love of culture, music, art and literature, something they worked to instill in their children. In later years, Yossi studied social work and worked in education, the kibbutz said, and was also heavily involved in organizing the Be’eri archive, as well as exploring and documenting his own family history.

Yossi’s childhood friend, Avraham Noy, noted on Facebook that their friendship dated back to the 1950s as schoolboys in Yaffo. They later worked together briefly when Zigi started his own business, and though their professional partnership was short, he said, they maintained a 65-year friendship.

On what would have been Yossi’s 78th birthday, Avraham noted that he could not call his longtime friend as he always used to: “I miss you, my dear friend, I feel your loss so much… My dear Zigi, thank you for being such an important part of my life. I hope that all of the big tribe you left behind, your four children and your grandchildren, treasure inside them a big part of your good qualities that made you such a special person.”

His grandson, Nahar, told Ynet, “My grandfather really was a good and unique person… He really loved music, he had a huge record collection. In recent years he also really loved to paint.”

His daughter, Netta, eulogized her father on Facebook, writing that she was trying to remember not his violent death, but “all of your great character traits, your devotion, diligence, love, free spirit, exacting nature, unique humor, your musical ear, the person that you were.”

She noted that with a uniquely timed “closure,” they had only just finished creating a memory book of her mother, Roni, two years after her death.

“You were happy with the finished product and we were supposed to send it to print… it was so hard for you to part from her. You grew up and matured together — and you did everything you could to keep on going.”

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