Dror Khenin, 37, became the first Israeli to die from Hamas fire on Tuesday when he succumbed to critical wounds from mortar shell shrapnel at the Gaza border.
Khanin, a resident of the central Israeli town of Beit Areyeh, traveled south to distribute food to soldiers on the Gaza border. He reached the Erez border crossing, where he was hit by the shrapnel.
“Dror went south with our security officer, Sharon Alfasi, after they collected packages for soldiers for three days,” said Avi Naim, head of the Bet Aryeh regional council, and friend to Khanin. “They parked near the soldiers, and Dror got out of the car, when they realized they were being fired upon, Dror went next to the wall. Sharon got back in the car. Dror told Sharon, “I’m hit,” and collapsed. Later, they realized he had a serious wound.” Magen David Adom officials arrived on the scene and were forced to declare him dead.
Khanin worked as an administrative official at a baby food factory, and later as a labor manager for a construction company. He is survived by his wife Raheli, and their three children, ten-year-old Shaked, 6-year-old Yoav and 9-month-old Avigail.
Dror, who grew up in Yehud, had three brothers, one of whom is currently backpacking in the far east with his wife, and the family had a hard time sending him news of the disaster.
Itzik Cohen, a childhood friend, said “they went to the border to chear up the soldiers, and fate got them. I’ve known him since childhood in Yehud. They generally say good things about those who pass away, but here, I feel as if we’ve really lost a rare person. Dror is a person with a huge soul, the biggest heart I’ve ever seen, and is endlessly giving. You would always see him at the gate, volunteering to guard, or helping bring chairs for a neighbor’s event, or running to help those in need. There are no words to begin to describe this loss.”