Those We Have Lost

Yotam Haim, 28: Heavy metal drummer dreamed of being famous

Taken captive from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7, accidentally shot dead by the IDF on December 15

Yotam Haim (Courtesy)
Yotam Haim (Courtesy)

Yotam Haim, 28, was taken hostage by Hamas from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7, and accidentally slain by IDF troops on December 15 after they mistook him and two other hostages as a threat in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.

He was laid to rest in Kibbutz Gvulot in the south on December 18. He is survived by his parents, Iris and Raviv, his brother, Tuval and sister, Noya.

Haim, a drummer for the heavy metal band Persephore, was memorialized in a ceremony imbued with music, in which his loved ones spoke openly about his mental health struggles and the tragedy which ended his young life.

“Sometimes I felt like you came from an alternate universe, and life here on Earth was not taken for granted,” said his mother, Iris, at his funeral. “We had so many conversations about your coping, your bravery, about your choice to get up every day and to keep living alongside the suffering that was so hard on you.”

“You wanted to be famous, to be a drummer that everybody knew,” she recalled. “You spoke about a better world, you wanted a world that would be better, without evil and revenge.”

During the time he was held in captivity, Iris said, “everyone got to know you, a beautiful boy, with a gentle soul and blue eyes, who loved animals and was a very talented drummer. You became famous through your captivity, and you bring us hope for a better world.”

His father, Raviv, said Yotam lived the life of a hero, even if it might not have seemed that way to others.

“Our Yotam was a big hero, you were always a hero… The struggles you dealt with since you were born were difficulties that others could not deal with. And you did,” said Raviv.

Raviv added that Yotam “got up in the morning — even though there were days you didn’t. You met incredible people along the way who touched you, and you touched them,” he said, recalling Yotam’s job at a sushi restaurant, his beloved cats and his talents in basketball: “He wasn’t very tall, but he was a redhead, and he had chutzpah, and he was fast and he was strong.”

Yotam’s brother, Tuval, described him as “my first friend, a little angel, who came when I was 3 years old and taught me what it means to be a big brother.”

“We grew up here in the kibbutz, we were always the Haim brothers, inseparable, laughing, doing nonsense, getting into trouble, fighting, just like all brothers,” Tuval recalled. “We had a childhood full of joy and laughter, experiences, a connection and humor that only you and I understood.

“We grew up in a house full of music, and together we found the drums, as an expression for all the difficulties, the anger and the pain,” he said.

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