HENDERSON, NV / ACCESSWIRE / May 1, 2020 / Although it has been 25 years since the tragic event that marked the life of Steven Odzer and his family, he remembers the worry and sorrow as if it were yesterday. Steven Odzer has always been close to his family — he has seven children and nine grandchildren. While he cherishes every moment with his immediate family, he is also extremely close to his extended family. “I have a lot of family in Israel who I’m close to,” Steven Odzer says.
Steven Odzer opened up about what happened 25 years ago that changed his family forever. On October 14, 1994, Steven’s Cousin, Nachston Wachsman, died in the hands of Hamas militants after being kidnapped.
As a dual citizen of Israel in the United States, Nachson Wachsman grew up in Jerusalem with his seven brothers. At the age of 19, while has was on leave, the military instructed him to attend a one-day training in northern Israel. Nachshon Wachsman followed the instructions and left on Saturday night for his training. His family would expect him back on Sunday night, October 9, 1994.
After he completed the training, Nachson began his journey back to Jerusalem were his family expected him. As a standard practice by many Israeli Soldiers, Nachshon Wachsman attempted to either hitchhike or catch a bus at the Bnai Atarot junction. Nachshon Wachsman got a ride and boarded a vehicle with four men, the men overpowered him and drove off to the Palestinian town of Bir Nabala. Bir Nabala is only six miles northwest of Jerusalem.
Although his cousin lived far away in Israel, Steven Odzer and Nachshon visited each other for ten years. “We were buddies,” said Steven Odzer. Since they were so close, his kidnapping and death was a shock. On the day he received the tragic news that marked him forever, Steven Odzer had made a stop in Borough Park, Brooklyn, to ask a rabbi for a blessing for his cousin Nachshon.
“We had asked Hashem for Nachshon’s safe release from his captors,” Steven said. Unfortunately, the rescue mission didn’t go as planned. The Hamas, who had captured Nachshon, demanded 200 Arab prisoners were released to make the exchange. Two days after the kidnapping, the Hammas militants responsible for the kidnapping released a video. In the video, the militants identified the kidnapped man as Nachshon Wachsman by reading out loud his identity number and his home address.
The Israeli military was able to capture the driver of the car that kidnapped Nachshon Wachsman and question him about his location. When the military learned the exact location, they orchestrated a rescue mission. The rescue mission failed due to faulty explosives and other technical difficulties, and they lost the element of surprise. Wachsman was behind a solid steel door, which the explosives couldn’t open. The failed explosion resulted in a heavy open fire. When they finally made it to the chamber, they discover Nachshon Wachsman had been shot by his kidnappers.
The void Nachshon left in all of their lives will never be able to get filled. To honor his departed cousin, Steven Odzer named his son Nachshon. Many other children also were named Nachshon and a Hebrew middle name. “In Israel, you can’t just name a son Nachshon Wachsman. It’s too painful,” says Steven Odzer. Aside from children honoring Nachshon by naming their children after him, the family took other steps. They called an educational center in Jerusalem for children with special needs after Nachshon.