In Memory of Carlos Chavez
On 15th January 2008 in the fields of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, Carlos Chavez a volunteer from Ecuador was killed by cross-border sniper fire from Gaza.
On the first anniversary of this tragic incident, the kibbutz had planned to organize a remembrance ceremony but this was postponed due the war. The remembrance ceremony was held on 5th March and a plaque in memory of Carlos Chavez was unveiled.
The ceremony was held in the presence of the Ecuadorian Ambassador, representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Military, the Local Council, the Kibbutz Movement Volunteers Department and members of the kibbutz.
The Foreign Ministry and the local council arranged for the late Carlos's parents, his brother and sister to attend the ceremony.
Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha is known as a kibbutz that receives volunteers with open arms and arranges for them to be adopted by families during their stay.
Carlos was a lively and happy person who volunteered to work on the kibbutz with a group of other volunteers, notwithstanding the constant barrage of rockets from Gaza. The volunteers loved the kibbutz so much, that after the tragic killing they did not request to be moved to a kibbutz outside the range of the Gaza rockets.
After the tragedy the relationship between the volunteers and the young kibbutz members strengthened and the assistance and support of all towards the volunteers made them feel closer to the kibbutz.
During the year since the tragedy the kibbutz maintained continuous contact with the Chavez family and the family expressed concern about the severe dangers posed to the residents during the Gaza war.
The remembrance ceremony was a very emotional occasion for the Chavez family. On the one hand they felt deep bereavement at the loss of their son and on the other hand they felt the deep warmth radiating from the kibbutz residents who responded with all their hearts.
The kibbutz hosted the family for a week and they were introduced to the kibbutz fields and walkways and also to the spot where Carlos was murdered.
The huge gesture of the Chavez family, by coming to Israel amid feelings of extreme emotion in the circumstances, is something to be admired.
May we be spared from such tragic situations in the future.