Sydney family mourns hero

Mor told The AJN that Zmora had created a WhatsApp group for his family and always reminded them that family comes first.

Arnon Zmora
Arnon Zmora.

Gil Mor wants people to remember his cousin Arnon Zmora (pictured) “not just as the soldier, but as a family man” after the hero officer was tragically killed while rescuing four hostages from Gaza.

Mor lives in Sydney with his family and on Sunday night he arranged for the local community to say Kaddish for Zmora at Maroubra Synagogue.

“It’s emotional,” Mor told those who attended.

“I wanted to get the community together and involved.”

Mor told The AJN that Zmora had created a WhatsApp group for his family and always reminded them that family comes first.

“I have been living here for 20 years, but my parents went to visit Ruti and Reuven [Zmora’s parents] and they said there were so many people there,” Mor said.

“The country at least is showing [its] respects. Where he lives, they all went to the streets to give him a last honour.”

Zmora was an officer of the elite Yamam counterterrorism unit and was part of the mission to rescue Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, Shlomi Ziv and Noa Argamani, which was subsequently renamed “Operation Arnon” in his honour. The rescue operation has been compared to the Entebbe raid of 1976 that saved the lives of 102 hostages, but claimed the life of Yonatan Netanyahu and was later remained “Operation Yonatan”.

Thousands of Israelis lined the streets to pay their respects.

Zmora, who Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “will forever be remembered in the history of our people”, had been fighting in this war since October 7.

“On October 7 he and his crew went and stopped Hamas from coming and attacking Yad Mordechai, which is a village quite close to Gaza,” Mor said.

“If they hadn’t stopped them, they [would have gone] further towards Ashkelon and Ashdod. He was the commander of that unit and saved a lot of lives that day.”

Mor’s grandmother and Zmora’s grandfather were Holocaust survivors who arrived from Hungary on the night the State of Israel was born. Mor said Zmora took his group to hear stories from his grandfather before he passed away in his 90s last year.

Zmora is survived by his wife, Michal, and their two young sons, Noam and Itai.

During Zmora’s funeral in Jerusalem, Michal spoke through tears: “We raised two wonderful children together, my love, whose worlds fell apart in an instant. I am enveloping them and protecting them. I know you know that, and I also know that you thought about us in the split second when you realised that death was coming.”

Mor added: “May his memory be a blessing for everyone.”

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