Tributes paid to 'heroic' British man who died evacuating others from Hamas terror

Benji Trakeniski was described as 'kind-hearted' by those that knew him


Tributes have been paid to a British-Israeli man who was killed by Hamas terrorists after attempting to assist in evacuating wounded civilians at Kibbutz Be’eri, one of the hardest hit communities in Saturday’s attacks.

Major Benji (Benjamin) Trakeniski, 32, had been living in Tel Aviv and was engaged to an Israeli tattoo-artist, Rotem, who he was due to get married to in April next year.

During his funeral on Thursday, Rotem read out, through tears, her wedding vow as a eulogy.

A friend of Benji’s in Israel who attended the funeral said: “Benji was the most positive, pure and kind-hearted person. He was all about helping others and in this heroic way he also died by saving many lives at Be’eri.”

During Rotem’s eulogy, the friend said, “People were sobbing. Hearing a father say Kaddish for his child is the worst and most heart-breaking thing in the world. Rotem’s speech was so touching. She read it in tears and we were all crying with her.”

A former lecturer of Benji’s at Reichman University, Tommy Steiner, posted to social media, saying: “Just heard a former student, Major Benji Trakeniski was killed by Hamas while defending civilians. Never met in person, he took my seminar during COVID, but we had lengthy phone and zoom sessions.

“Will remember his smile, curiosity and humor. May his memory be a blessing. RIP, Benji.”

Messages of support have reportedly been sent to his mother, Liz, who is a former student of London’s JFS.

Israel’s former National Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani, who served in the same unit as Benji, Brigade 7 Unit, also spoke at the funeral. Kahalani praised Benji’s values and bravery on the frontline.

Before the confirmation of his death, Benji’s little sister, Sharon, posted a photo collage on Instagram showing his many tattoos to help the process of body identification. Some tattoos included one of the sound waves of a whale singing, done by his fiancée Rotem, and “P76” which referenced the apartment he lived in at Pinkas 76, with his best friends.

Sharon later posted to Instagram a picture of her brother with the caption, “Benji the hero, handsome, brave, felled in battle while saving dozens of lives."

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