Israel Stories:
The Fallen Canadians
of October 7th

Neta Epstein

22, Kfar Aza

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Neta Epstein was a caring and energetic young man. He grew up in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, with his family, who had immigrated to Israel from Canada. From a young age, Neta loved to play soccer and excelled as a goalkeeper.

In high school, Neta was the goalkeeper for the Hapoel Be'er Sheva soccer team and was described by his teammates as "an amazing goalkeeper and an amazing person." As a die-hard Liverpool fan, his dream was to attend a match in the team's home stadium in England.

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At the age of 17, Neta led a march with his friends, with the slogan "Let us grow up in peace," in which thousands of teenageers marched for five days from the western Negev communities to the Knesset in Jerusalem - 90 km away. As one of the leaders of the protest, Neta sought to awaken the state's leaders to resolve the grave security situation on Israel's southern border.

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Like the other members of Kibbutz Kfar Aza and the western Negev communities. Neta grew up up under the constant thread of rocket fire, arson balloons that burned their crops in the fields, and the fear of infiltration by terrorists across the border.

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On the morning of Simchat Torah, Hamas terrorists infiltrated Kibbutz Kfar Aza. The first homes they invaded were the young people's apartments, including Neta and his aprtner Erin's apartment. When the attack began, Neta and Erin went into the apartment's safe room, but terrorists managed to break down the door and threw grenades inside. When Neta saw saw one of the grenades rolling towards his beloved Erin, he did not hesitate. Neta, the leader who always knew how to jump first, made his final jump, wrapped his body around the grenade, absorbing the explosion, and saving Erin's life.

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May his memory be blessed.