17 full years
Gavriel was born on Holocaust day- April 17th 1985. (27th of Nissan) and was murdered at the age of 17 and a half by Arab terrorists while on kitchen duty at the Yeshiva in Otniel where he studied.
Gavriel wrote his life story when he was 14 as an English project. You can read it here.
Gavriel was born in Kfar Adumim, near Jerusalem. Kfar Adumim is a community settlement where religious and non-religious Jews live and attend the same school. He went to the crèche and had many good friends that were to remain his friends all his life. He was what people would call the perfect child. He always listened and thought before doing anything and got on well with everybody. From a very young age he seemed much older than his age and he always wanted to learn more.
Gavriel went to kindergarten and was always helping other children and trying to make peace between his friends when they fought. That didn’t stop him from taking an active role in all the romps with his brothers at home. Gavriel loved working with Lego. He played for hours with his pirate ships. These pictures were taken in a booth while on a visit to his grandparents in England when he was 4 years old.
Gavriel started school and also went to extra classes in science after school. Everything interested him. His teaches used to tell us they dreamed of having a son like Gavriel. He was the perfect pupil, eager to learn, respectful and willing to help everyone. He soon started to take classes outside of school with Rabbi Reuven Grodner and attended the Jewish study lessons for adults. Gavriel became the plasticene expert and made models of almost everything. Each model was humoristic. Here is an example from when he was in second grade.
Each night from when he was really small Gavriel read Bible stories with his father. Systematically they read through the books of the Bible and discussed the stories together. He learnt how to read from the Bible in the Yemenite tradition. In high school this knowledge made it easier for him to become the school champion in the Bible competition and 4th in Jerusalem.
When Gavriel was 8 he joined his brothers father and cousin Rotem on a trip through Europe. They took the boat from Israel to Greece and then to Italy and then drove through Europe to England. Gavriel loved art and made a list –to his brothers dismay-of all the famous works of art he wanted to see, Michael Angelo in Italy Rembrandt and Van Gogh in Holland, Monet and Leonardo de Vinci in Paris…
Gavriel and Sephy made movies together. Gavri made the plasticene models and Sephy filmed. One such feature was about Israeli independence day. Ben Gurion looked just as he should. Sephy and Gavriel also teamed up to supply entertainment for their sisters Michal and Orit. They turned the house into a Disney resort one summer!
The family also went on many trips in Israel.
Music is a key element in the Hoter household. Gavriel had an amazing voice. He was in the childrens’ opera when he was little and performed with his brothers in the famous Hoter Brothers trio. As he got older he was able to make the sounds of many musical instruments with his mouth, percussion as well as trumpets and the like. He also adapted Shabbat songs to our family favorite melodies.
Gavriel was always well ahead of his class, but he was always interested in the lessons. He once told me when I asked if the lessons were boring “There is always something to learn, if not from the material then from how the teacher presents the material, or how she deals with discipline problems and if that isn’t interesting then I work out how I would teach the lesson to make it more exciting.” Gavriel NEVER looked down on anybody. On the contrary, he always made his friends feel better about themselves.
Gavriel attended the religious scout movement and was always there to lend a hand and ALWAYS carried the jerry cans! Gavriel taught many children, new immigrants and anyone who wanted help in their studies. There were always pupils waiting to come in and Gavriel was only 12 himself! So many people remember Gavriel as the person who helped them, who saw they needed a friend and was there for them, particularly those less fortunate than Gavriel.
Gavriel completed the Mishna by his barmitzva. He read what I think is the longest double portion and changed from reading according to the Yemenite, Ashkenazi or Sephardic-Jerusalem tune in accordance to who was called up. His party Saturday night was a take off of the Bible Quiz program and Gavriel dressed up as soldiers with his 2 brothers and did a “take off” of the Rabbinical army group.
Gavriel skipped 8th grade and went to study at the Yeshiva high school for science and technology in Maale Adumim. Just before Gavriel started high school, Avichai was born. Gavriel took his brotherly responsibilities seriously and spent many hours with his little brother.
After a year in high school the Hoter family moved to Alloney Habashan in the Golan Heights. Gavriel decided to stay in the same school and live in the dorms. He loved these years in high school because the dorms were part of the “hesder” yeshiva, so he was able to study in the yeshiva to late at night and then after getting up for “vatikin”-services at sunrise, he had a few more hours to study. Gavriel was a born leader, but he worked quietly and behind the scenes. In addition Gavriel started to study at the Open University. Each semester he took a course or two. First of all he took a number of courses in Geology attending the trips to various parts of the county. He enjoyed being the 14 year old among all the adults. Then he took courses in biology, math and physics and a course in economics to find out what it was all about. Gavriel had planned to finish his B.Sc. before he joined the army…
Gavriel completed his matriculation exams at school but had already made himself a vigorous work schedule. He didn’t want to waste a second. He worked on himself trying to improve himself. He stopped eating anything between meals and limited the number of meals he ate a day. He was an anti materialistic person in a materialistic world. Possessions and money were not needed. The important thing was to serve G-d and be a better person. This is what he strived to achieve.
Gavriel chose to attend Otniel Yeshiva where his brother Sephy was studying. Here he devoted himself completely to studying Jewish studies, but at the same time always had time to help friends understand the lessons, give support and be a true friend to all around him. He became famous for his massages!
Gavriel was close to his family, parents, brothers and sisters and grandparents. He was loved by everyone. We all felt there was an angel in our midst. (Here you can read his last email to his grandparents)
On Friday, the day of the murder, Gavriel prepared himself for the Sabbath going to the “mikva”. He prayed with so much devotion that friends who wanted to ask him if he’d help them over the Sabbath felt they couldn’t disturb him. At the end of the service a friend asked him if he would do kitchen duty instead of him-of course Gavriel immediately agreed.
Between the courses Gavriel went to the kitchen to serve the food. Two terrorists entered via the kitchen dressed as soldiers and shot at the 4 boys. Gavriel was shot 8 times in the chest.