South African-Israeli soldier captured by Hamas declared dead 
Fallen Israel Defense Forces Capt. Daniel Perez. (Photo: IDF)

Capt. Daniel Perez, 19, was murdered on Oct. 7 and his body was seized by Hamas terrorists, the IDF announced.

JNS Staff Report
March 18, 2024

South African-Israeli dual national Daniel Perez, 22, from Yad Binyamin, was killed on Oct. 7 by Hamas terrorists, who are holding his remains in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces revealed on Sunday.

Perez served as a platoon commander in the Israel Defense Forces’ 7th Armored Brigade’s 77th Battalion. His death was confirmed following an investigation by the military rabbinate, and his family was informed before the news was made public. He was the cousin of Hylton Jonas and family of Dallas.

“This is a tragic loss for our family,” Jonas said. “After hoping and praying that he was a hostage, but alive and would one day be returned to his family, we now know the reality.” 

Jonas added that watching the funeral online was particularly painful and he realized that his family was among many others experiencing similar anguish. “So many families have been through this same loss and heartache because of this war,” he said.

He said that the Dallas Jewish community has been very supportive and that it’s very comforting.

“I am overwhelmed by how the Dallas community has reached out to my family at this time. We are so blessed to be part of our community.”

The slain soldier’s father, Rabbi Doron Perez, serves as executive chairman of the religious Zionist Mizrachi World Movement.

“Over the past 163 days we have desperately [prayed] for better news,” Rabbi Danny Mirvis, the organization’s acting CEO, stated on Sunday. “Throughout that time, the Perez family has inspired us and strengthened us as we have sought to strengthen them. The global [prayers] for his well-being will now become global wishes of comfort.”

The statement noted that the news came on the 7th of Adar, the Hebrew date of the biblical Moses’ death. This date is associated with mourning for all those whose burial place is unknown. “As we have prayed and hoped for Daniel’s return until now, we continue to pray and hope for his return to a kever Yisrael [Jewish burial],” said Mirvis.

Daniel Perez immigrated to the Jewish state from South Africa in 2014 along with his parents and three siblings. In a Feb. 28 interview with Jewish Insider, Rabbi Perez declared that his son holds a South African passport and said that Pretoria “has a responsibility to return a South African, whatever their political position on the conflict.”

Asked by the outlet whether the South African government was doing anything to bring about Daniel’s release, Rabbi Peretz said the family had been in touch with officials and efforts were being made.

Five months after Hamas’s deadly Oct. 7 attacks in the northwestern Negev, the terror group is still holding 134 hostages in Gaza, though Israel has confirmed that at least 32 are already dead.

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said at an African National Congress event last week that the country will arrest citizens who serve in the Israeli military upon their return to the country.

“I’ve already issued a statement alerting those who are South African and who are fighting alongside or in the Israeli Defense Force [sic]; we are ready—when you come home, we will arrest you,” Pandor said to crowd applause, according to Israeli media.

South Africa accused Jerusalem of committing genocide in the Gaza Strip in a case it brought before the International Court of Justice, the principal U.N. judicial arm, in The Hague late last year.

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