Place of residence: Tzur Yitzchak
Family: Parents Sharon and Eyal, and two younger brothers
Roni Eshel grew up in Tzur Yitzchak, located in central Israel, a community that was named after assassinated Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. She is the eldest of three, with two younger brothers. Roni loves American culture, particularly pop music artists Taylor Swift and Maroon 5, whom she saw in concert in Tel Aviv.
Roni was in her second year of her 2-year mandatory IDF military service in a communications unit as a watchtower lookout on a military base in the south’s Nahal Oz. The military base was invaded by Hamas on October 7, 2023, at 7:30 AM.
Roni was the third generation in her family to serve in the IDF and reported for her mandatory service mere weeks after finishing high school. Roni’s uncle, Guy Malki, who also served in the IDF said that Roni loved her job and she felt a sense of purpose in defending Israel and her citizens.
At 9:27 AM, Roni’s mother Sharon, received a text message from another soldier; “Mom, I am OK. I am in the command room. I love you.” Sharon replied, “I love you too.” It was the last communication with Roni.
There were approximately 27 soldiers on the lookout team in the command room at the time the base was invaded. Roni’s parents have seen graphic videos of soldiers on the base who were murdered.
Roni has not been found. The IDF considers her missing and is presumed to have been kidnapped and held in Gaza.
Since Roni’s kidnapping, Roni’s father Eyal visited the outpost where his daughter served, finding atrocities that defy description.
“Hamas murdered babies and families and kidnapped small children and Holocaust survivors to Gaza,” said Eyal. “They want to kill us because we are Jews. The world needs to know that.”