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Amongst People killed or lacking in Israel: A scholar, a nurse, vacationers

World Information

The variety of People killed may rise together with the general dying toll in Israel.

Hayim Katsman, one of many People killed in Saturday’s assaults in Israel. Courtesy of Hannah Wacholder Katsman

When Hayim Katsman obtained his doctorate from the College of Washington in 2021, associates inspired him to remain in the US. He may construct a very good life there, they mentioned, possibly even in Seattle, a metropolis the place his household had lengthy roots.

Katsman, 32, was adamant. He wished to return to Israel and the small commune the place he had lived for years. He was dedicated to forging a extra peaceable future for the residents of Israel and the Palestinians. His dissertation was devoted to “all life kinds that exist between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”

On Saturday, Katsman was certainly one of at the very least 14 People killed in a wave of unprecedented assaults by Hamas militants that plunged Israel into struggle. He died on the commune, or kibbutz, that he liked, positioned on the fringe of Israel close to the place the Gaza Strip borders Egypt.

Relations of lacking U.S. residents attend a information convention in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. From left: Jonathan Dekel-Chen, father of Sagui Dekel-Chen; Ruby Chen, father of Itay Chen; Ayala and Nahal Neta, daughter and son of Adrienne Neta; Rachel Goldberg and Jonathan Polin, mom and father of Hersh Goldberg-Polin. Maya Alleruzzo / AP

The variety of People killed may rise together with the general dying toll in Israel, a testomony to the shut ties and historical past of immigration that hyperlink the 2 international locations. Greater than 1,000 individuals have been killed in Israel and at the very least 830 in Gaza by retaliatory strikes.

On Tuesday, President Biden confirmed that People had been additionally among the many hostages taken by Hamas, however he didn’t specify what number of. “As president, I’ve no greater precedence than the protection of People being held hostage all over the world,” Biden mentioned. “Like each nation on this planet, Israel has the correct to reply and certainly has an obligation to reply to these vicious assaults.”

Nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned there are 20 Americans unaccounted for, at the very least a few of whom are Hamas hostages. That places the U.S. authorities in uncharted territory because it seeks the protected return of enormous numbers of its residents from Gaza. Biden mentioned Monday that he had directed his group members to work with their Israeli counterparts on “each side of the hostage disaster.”

People killed or lacking within the assaults embrace vacationers visiting Israel; U.S. residents serving within the Israeli military; individuals born in the US who immigrated to Israel; and kids born in Israel to American dad and mom who then acquired U.S. citizenship, like Katsman. They vary in age from 18 to 80. It’s unclear whether or not any Americans have been killed by Israeli navy motion in Gaza.

Judith Raanan, 59, and her daughter Natalie, 18, dwell in Evanston, Sick., and had been visiting kin at a kibbutz close to Gaza. Natalie had simply graduated from Deerfield Excessive Faculty, the place she is called a gifted artist. On Saturday, Natalie’s father, Uri, obtained a message from his daughter that mentioned they had been underneath assault. Then nothing, kin mentioned, weeping as they spoke with a reporter.

People had been additionally among the many revelers at an open-air trance music competition that become a scene of carnage. Danielle Ben-Senyor, 34, was born in Los Angeles and later moved to Israel so her ailing dad and mom could possibly be nearer to members of the family, mentioned her cousin Riki Ben-Senyor. Early Saturday, Danielle, who had labored as an intensive-care nurse in the course of the pandemic, left Tel Aviv with a gaggle of associates to attend the music competition.

“That is the primary time in so lengthy she was going to simply calm down and dance,” mentioned Riki, who nonetheless holds out hope for Danielle’s return. She is a “robust cookie,” her cousin mentioned.

Hersh Goldberg-Polin, 23, left house late Friday evening with a backpack and a sleeping bag on his approach to the music competition, known as Tribe of Nova. The subsequent morning, his mom, Rachel Goldberg, checked her cellphone.

At 8:11 a.m., her son had despatched two messages through WhatsApp.

“I like you,” the primary learn. The subsequent one mentioned: “I’m sorry.”

His dad and mom haven’t heard from him since.

Goldberg-Polin was born in California and his dad and mom grew up in Chicago. They discovered from eyewitnesses that he fled the competition in a automotive and sought security in a public bomb shelter. About 30 individuals had been within the small cement construction once they had been attacked by militants, who threw grenades and fired weapons. Then they instructed anybody who may stand to stroll outdoors.

A witness noticed Goldberg-Polin stroll out, his mom mentioned. He was lacking his arm from his elbow down and had improvised a tourniquet. He was loaded onto a pickup truck with three different younger males and two ladies. Israeli police traced the final sign from his cellphone to the border with Gaza.

Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a lacking American who’s believed to be held hostage by Hamas. Courtesy of Goldberg-Polin household

Goldberg mentioned she has religion within the Biden administration’s efforts to search out the lacking People, together with her son. “Each American citizen who’s being held hostage, particularly critically wounded residents, they need to be handled, launched, traded, no matter it needs to be,” she mentioned.

Goldberg addressed a information convention on Tuesday together with kin of three different lacking People, the place they urged the U.S. authorities to do every thing in its energy to search out their family members. Jonathan Dekel-Chen’s son Sagui, 35, disappeared after an assault on Kibbutz Nir Oz, the place the household lived. Dekel-Chen mentioned he knew of at the very least three different Americans from their kibbutz who had been lacking and two different People who had been killed.

Deborah and Shlomi Matias, who died shielding their 16-year-old son, who survived, at Kibbutz Holit on Saturday. Courtesy of Troen household

At the least two People had been killed in Kibbutz Holit, a neighborhood based in 1978. One in all them was Katsman, who obtained a doctorate in worldwide research from the College of Washington and was a twin U.S.-Israeli citizen. The opposite was Deborah Matias, 50, who was born in Missouri.

Matias and her husband, Shlomi, had been killed as they shielded their 16-year-old son, Rotem, with their our bodies, mentioned Matias’s father, Ilan Troen. Rotem was shot within the stomach, and for the subsequent 12 hours, his members of the family guided him through textual content message on keep alive till assist arrived.

Katsman was hiding in a closet with a neighbor, Avital Alajem, when militants overran the kibbutz. He was closest to the door, Alajem instructed CNN, and his physique absorbed the bullets, defending Alajem. “He was murdered,” Alajem mentioned. “I used to be saved.” Katsman was “a very good soul on this world,” she mentioned, noting that his title, Hayim, means “life” in Hebrew.

Amongst Katsman’s associates and colleagues from his time on the College of Washington, there was grief and disbelief. “There’s one thing about sure individuals that basically will get into your coronary heart,” mentioned his pal Yoav Duman, a political scientist in Seattle. “I’ve by no means met anybody who doesn’t like him.”

Katsman was a uncommon mixture, Duman mentioned. He was a gifted scholar but additionally a automotive mechanic, landscaper and DJ. He labored laborious however at all times had time for his associates, whether or not to assist them transfer or educate them to drive or catch up over a beer.

Marwa Maziad, a fellow graduate of the College of Washington, remembered him as an expensive pal who shared what little he had. He typically built-in Arabic music into his DJ gigs, asking her in regards to the lyrics, she wrote on Fb.

Katsman gained a prize for a tutorial paper he wrote about modern non secular Zionism, the main focus of his analysis. “I actually assume his work helped illuminate among the very dynamics which have introduced us to this horrific second,” mentioned Liora Halperin, a historian on the College of Washington. “There are lots of items to this puzzle, however he had devoted years of his life attempting to know among the items.”

Katsman had a “very deep concern for all of the residents of Israel and the Palestinian territories,” mentioned Devin Naar, one other historian on the college who requested Katsman to be his educating and analysis assistant. Katsman didn’t despair however retained a type of hope and optimism {that a} completely different future was doable, Naar mentioned. He then stopped talking, overcome by emotion.

Katsman was a scholar in addition to a DJ, automotive mechanic and landscaper. Courtesy of Hannah Wacholder Katsman

His mom, Hannah Wacholder Katsman, grew up in Cincinnati, whereas his father, Daniel Katsman, is from Seattle. The household moved to Israel in 1990 and Hayim, the second of six siblings, was born a yr later.

After ending his obligatory service within the Israeli military, Katsman moved with associates to Kibbutz Holit. They went to “revive this kibbutz that was ageing and remoted and albeit harmful” due to its location, his mom mentioned. However he discovered an actual sense of neighborhood and instructed associates he liked residing there.

Wacholder Katsman has not but been in a position to prepare her son’s funeral amid the chaos of so many deaths. However she is aware of one factor. He “wouldn’t need this battle for use to kill harmless individuals,” she mentioned. “He would need this battle to finish as quickly as doable.”

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Slater reported from Williamstown, Mass. Wax-Thibodeaux reported from Washington. Susan Berger in Chicago, Karen DeYoung in Washington, Kelly Kasulis Cho in Seoul and Frances Vinall in Melbourne contributed to this report.