British-Israeli soldier Nathanel Young, 20, was killed by Hamas militants on October 7.
The sister of a British man who was serving in the Israeli army when he was killed by Hamas militants has said her brother was a “typical 20-year-old cheeky chappie” who died protecting his country.
Gaby Young told the PA news agency her younger brother Nathanel Young, 20, loved his four nieces, was “fun-loving” and had a passion for DJing.
The 38-year-old from Tel Aviv said she was in contact with her brother by phone on the morning of October 7, when Hamas militants attacked, but he then stopped reading or responding to her Whatsapp messages.
Born in Southgate, north London, Mr Young had a “strong Jewish identity” and attended JFS, the largest Jewish secondary school in Europe.
He “decided to come to Israel just for a short amount of time” – but ultimately stayed a year before joining the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), his sister said.
Ms Young said her brother joined the IDF because he wanted to be “able to protect Israel and protect civilians, especially from terrorist threats” and served in the force for one year before his death.
“(He) loved fashion and trainers and he had a trainers collection just like a typical 20-year-old cheeky chappie,” Ms Young said.
As air raid sirens sounded at around 6:30am on the morning on October 7, the British-Israeli soldier rang his sister and said he’d “heard that there were missiles”.
“He was actually on the border with Gaza at that time, and so we exchanged a few WhatsApps because I couldn’t hear him properly on the phone,” Ms Young explained.
“I had to grab my husband and my children and rush them into a shelter, so obviously, we were terrified.”
At the time, Ms Young said they had not yet “realised the extent” of the attack that morning.
Shortly after the siblings exchanged texts, she said the blue ticks confirming her Whatsapp messages had been read stopped appearing.
“He hadn’t seen my messages,” Ms Young said.
“I spent the whole day trying to figure out what was going on and where he was, hoping he was okay, that he just left his phone somewhere or something like that, not anything worse.”
Ms Young was informed by the IDF around 1am on October 8 that he had been killed while protecting a kibbutz on the Gaza border.
His funeral took place two days later, during which an air raid siren rang out while Ms Young read her eulogy.
“Everyone had to just get on the floor,” she said.
“My parents and my sister from the UK had come from the funeral and they’ve never had to even experience air raid sirens so you can imagine how terrified they must have been.
“I’ve had more experience with hearing sirens so it’s more of a reflex for me to react.
“I really wanted to continue and I was determined to give Nathanel the honour that he deserves and finish my speech.”
Ms Young did finish the eulogy, and she said she hopes to further honour her brother in future.
“I hope that after all of this, and in more peaceful times, we’ll be able to honour him with some kind of music studio in his memory for those maybe with PTSD, or even just young people who have an interest in music,” she said.
“I’d love to follow that dream.”