– Shani Louk – Keshet – Orion Hernandez : Shani Louk: A Life Cut Short by Hamas Terrorists in Gaza

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : When Shani Louk’s name is mentioned among the people of Israel, it conjures up haunting images of a distressing video disseminated by Hamas terrorists of a young woman lying unconscious in the back of a pickup on the streets of Gaza, with broken legs, while the perpetrators revel in their heinous act.

In the aftermath of the events of October 7, a chilling theory emerged that the young woman, identified as Shani Louk, who also held German citizenship, was abducted to Gaza while severely injured and was hospitalized in the Strip. Tragically, about three weeks after that fateful Saturday, a final and heart-wrenching confirmation was received that she had been killed. In reality, she was murdered by the terrorists on the day of the attack.

For Shani’s family and friends, her name evokes a myriad of memories. They remember her as a creative and talented young woman, brimming with zest for life. They recall Shani’s boundless generosity, which, according to her aunt, Orly Louk, may have been her ultimate virtue. “At times, I felt she was simply too good for this world,” she lamented.

Shani, born in the moshav of Aderet, and later moved with her family to the community of Srigim at the age of two. She was the daughter of her mother Ricky, a native of Germany, and her father Nissim, a native of Israel. Before her, her older sister Adi was born (25), followed by her brothers Amit (20) and Or (14). “From a young age, it was evident that Shani was exceptionally creative,” her mother recounted. “She painted exquisitely and had a unique sense of style. She insisted on wearing only clothes she adored and selected. She was a happy child, with a heart as vast as the sky. She tirelessly assisted her family and friends. At every family gathering, she entertained her cousins and brought joy to their hearts.”

Shani’s creativity occasionally clashed with overly rigid structures. “At a certain point, she left high school to attend an arts school in Jerusalem, and later switched to another high school,” her mother Ricky shared. “She also resisted enlistment. She always dreamt of independence, of living in her own apartment in Tel Aviv, and at the age of 18, she realized that dream. It wasn’t easy for her financially, but she never turned down any job: she worked as a waitress and as a cashier at a supermarket. Later, she pursued a course in graphic design and established a tattoo studio in her apartment. She created piercings and tattoos for people, gradually establishing a successful livelihood from her talent.”

Shani’s passion for music and dancing was immense, as recounted by her mother, Ricky. After achieving financial stability, she delved into the world of music festivals. It was at one of these festivals in Europe where she met Orion Hernandez (30) from Mexico, who would later become her partner. They had been together for eight months, and a few days before the party in Re’im, he followed her to Israel. “Although she was very independent, she was also very family-oriented,” her mother shared. “She made a point to come to our home almost every Friday for dinner. On October 6, before that dreadful day, I told her to bring Orion. We hadn’t met him and really wanted to get to know him. She said they were going to the party in Re’im and wouldn’t have time, but she promised to bring him for dinner the following Friday. Who knew that there wouldn’t be another Friday.”

The last conversation she had with her daughter took place on Saturday, at 6:40 in the morning. “We called her, after the rocket fire began,” Ricky recounts. “Like us, she still didn’t know about the terrorists’ infiltration. She said she was taking the car and driving with Orion to a safe place.”

Orion was with Shani in the car, while the two, along with another friend, Keshet, from Kibbutz Samar in the Arava region, tried to escape from the terrorists. Orion was kidnapped to Gaza, and Keshet was murdered. Initially, there was a belief that Shani was also kidnapped while injured, and that she was still alive. About three weeks later, her family received definite confirmation that she had been murdered, after her remains were found in the area of the terrorists’ base. According to the doctors, a person cannot live without that bone. “We waited for a miracle,” her aunt Orly shares. “In the end, we received a somewhat different miracle, less optimistic than what we had hoped for during the weeks of uncertainty. But it’s still a miracle. The knowledge that while Shani was on that same stretcher of the terrorists in Gaza, she was no longer among the living, gave us solace. We found comfort in the fact that she did not suffer, that while she was trying to escape and still didn’t understand exactly what was happening, they shot her. She apparently was killed on the spot.”

For the majority of her younger years, Shani resided in close proximity to her aunt Orly’s family in Srigim. “We were more than just family, we were neighbors,” Orly reflects, “and as Shani matured, an extraordinary bond formed between us. Perhaps because we both shared a streak of defiance. We also had a shared sense of taste. Whenever I journeyed around the globe, it was always simplest to purchase gifts for Shani, as I knew precisely what she cherished. I would spot a charm-filled necklace, and know instantly that Shani would share my enthusiasm.”

Shani was a child whose heart was brimming with love. She consistently expressed to me that she didn’t believe in the existence of evil people in the world. That perhaps there are individuals who are slightly less virtuous, but that’s merely because they lack understanding, or ‘because they’re facing difficulties.’ This was a belief that profoundly connected us, as I always held the same view. That was until October 7. That’s when I received a harsh reality check.

Shani Cohen was a close friend of Shani Louk. She was 22 years old and originally from Jerusalem. They first met when Louk moved to study at a high school in Jerusalem at the age of 15. “The first thing I thought when I saw her was ‘what a voice she has.’ She had a very distinctive artistic soul. She was a sociable girl, one of a kind. The kind of person who quickly becomes everyone’s friend. She could meet someone just two weeks ago, and they would become her best friend. She was also willing to do anything for her friends.”

As we grew up, she was willing to sacrifice work days and give up the opportunity to earn money if someone asked her for a favor. Whether it was to pose for a student film, or to help someone move with her car.

Until last June, Shani and Shani were also roommates in Tel Aviv. “Her hospitality was indescribable,” says Cohen. “She was always inviting friends over to our place, cooking for them, even girls she had met just a few hours earlier at a club. She connected with them and invited them to come sleep at our place. Sometimes it was difficult for me, as there were always people at home, and we had conversations about it. But Shani explained to me that she needed this company, that there was no reason to cook if there weren’t enough people to eat with her.”

According to Cohen, Shani’s dream was to tattoo and design clothes. “She studied sewing and wanted to establish a large studio where she would do tattoos and piercings, and sell clothes designed by her, especially clothes for festivals. She also had a dream that all her friends would work with her in the studio. Each one was given a role. For example, I studied graphic design, and she wanted me to design the business’s flyers and design elements. She wanted Avivit, a good friend of hers who moved to live with her after me, to design clothes with her and make jewelry with her. Each one according to what she knew how to do.”

Cohen is also a belly dancer, performing at events with the “Etnica” band. According to her, Shani, who loved to dance, also began to take belly dancing classes. “She was very good at it,” says Cohen. “She missed a lot of classes, but she always came back to it. She liked it a lot, and it helped her connect to her femininity. It was very important to her.”

Shani Louk’s death has left a void in the lives of those who knew and loved her. She was a vibrant and creative soul, full of love and generosity. Her family and friends will forever cherish the memories they have of her, and her spirit will live on in the hearts of those who were touched by her presence.

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