JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Holocaust survivor Moshe Etzion, the father of Ze’ev Etzion who was killed by rocket fire from Gaza during the 2014 Protective Edge campaign, took his own life while at the grave of his son on the Hebrew anniversary of his death – Sunday, 30 Av.
Ze’ev (Zevik) Etzion, Moshe Etzion’s oldest child, was the security officer of Kibbutz Nirim near the Gaza border, as well as an emergency medic and ambulance driver. On August 26th 2014 a Hamas shell cut the electricity lines to the kibbutz, disconnecting all forms of communications to the kibbutz. Etzion led a team from the electricity company to the high-voltage wires which required fixing but a mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip slammed into the security detail. Shrapnel from the mortar killed Etzion and Shachar Melamed, another member of the kibbutz. The attack came just an hour before a ceasefire agreed upon by Israeli and Palestinian representatives took effect. Zevik was 55 years old at his death.
Ze’ev Etzion Hy’D
88-year-old Moshe Etzion left his home early Sunday morning, and after he did not return for a number of hours, authorities launched a search for him. He was found dead next to the grave of his son in the kibbutz, the Eshkol Regional Council said. He is to be buried Monday in Nirim.
“Moshe stood bravely not only in bereavement [of his son] but also in the circumstances of his life as a Holocaust survivor,” the kibbutz said in a statement Sunday. “Since Zevik’s death, Moshe had been immersed in an endless effort to be worthy of Zevik’s legacy as he believed and recounted at dozens of places and events.
“For Moshe, Zevik’s death was another blow and another test that fate presented him as part of the revival of the Jewish people in its country, and he was determined to stand with his head held high,” it added.
Moshe was a popular figure in the kibbutz who was eulogized by the Eshkol regional council as a “symbol of the values of giving, the love of humanity and the country.” Last year his family published a book -“Always On the Road” in honor of Moshe, detailing his harrowing life story from youth in Krakow to near starvation in Siberia and then the journey to Israel via Samarkand and Teheran, eventually settling in the southern border kibbutz.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the news of Etzion’s death was “devastating and tragic.”
“There are no words that can comfort a father who mourns his son. From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the security establishment, I send condolences to his family,” Gantz tweeted on Sunday evening.