Photo by Elad Zagman/TPS-IL on 19 May, 2024

Israel Pays Last Respects to Fallen Hostages

Public By Pesach Benson • 19 May, 2024

Jerusalem, 19 May, 2024 (TPS) -- Israelis paid their last respects on Sunday to three of four hostages whose bodies were recovered from northern Gaza during the weekend.

Amit Buskila, Shani Louk and Itzhak Gelerenter were laid to rest in separate funerals. The three had attended the Nova Music Festival near Re’im on October 7 and had sought refuge in the nearby Mefalsim area after the attack had begun. Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Friday they were killed in Mefalsim by Hamas terrorists, and their bodies were carried to the Gaza Strip.

According to Hagari, the location of the four hostages was determined from interrogations of Palestinian terrorists in Israeli custody.

Also recovered was the body of Ron Benjamin, who was last seen on his way to meet up with friends at Kibbutz Beeri for bicycling. A resident of Rehovot, the IDF announced the recovery of his body on Saturday night. Funeral arrangements were not immediately clear.

The 23-year-old Louk was an Israeli-German citizen. A social media influencer, her partially clothed body was seen being paraded around Gaza in the back of a pickup truck in videos circulating on social media. She was declared dead on October 30 after authorities found a piece of her skull near the site of the music festival.

“Shani had time to travel all over the world, from festival to festival. She was very mature for her age with deep thoughts about life. She lived intensely with all her heart. She treated every person as an equal,” said her mother, Ricarda Louk, as Shani was buried at Moshav Srigim.

At the funeral of Buskila in Kiryat Gat, Amit’s uncle, Shimon, recalled his 27-year-old niece’s last phone call from the Nova festival.

“I can’t believe that I am standing here today after such a long period of time in which I hoped and prayed that instead of standing here, we would celebrate your thanksgiving party” of being rescued alive, Attias said.

“How much I will miss your lively entrance, the warmth, the love, the huge hug you would bring every time you entered my home. How I will miss the Sabbaths, the holidays with the joy and happiness you bring with you. Life in your land will not be the same. You are righteous, pure and sacred. Your memory will be engraved in every step and breath,” he added.

Itzhak Gelerenter was buried at the Palmachim cemetery not far from his hometown of Irus.

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 128 remaining hostages, some 40 are believed dead.