CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — An Israeli soldier who died earlier this month was a cousin and friend to a Coastal Carolina University graduate.

The Israeli war with Hamas is not just destroying the families who live there but is destroying families in the country and in Myrtle Beach. News13 talked to Itay Glisko’s cousin, Irene Zohar, who described how his death is impacting her and her family.

Glisko, who was born in New Jersey and had dual citizenship in the U.S. and Israel, was 20 years old when he died on Oct. 10, four days after Hamas attacked a military base.

“He grew up his last few years in Israel,” Zohar said. “[He] decided to stay in Israel actually to serve his country and his people in the IDF — Israel Defense Forces.”

Glisko had served for two years and had only eight more months to serve.

Zohar said she lived in Israel for a year after graduating from Coastal Carolina University but came back six months ago. She said they had plans for Glisko to move to Myrtle Beach with her when his time in the military ended.

“He was actually not supposed to be on base that day, Oct. 7 — that Saturday,” Zohar said. “He switched with a friend, so they switched shifts, he was supposed to be home. His friend was supposed to be in service.”

Zohar said the day of the attack was the last time she and her family got to talk to him. She said the last text Glisko’s mom received from him was to calm down, not to worry and to stay home with his dad and brothers.

“We told him to take care of himself and then we lost contact actually right after that,” Zohar said. “We didn’t know what was going on, we had no answers. We actually only found out that he was killed on Tuesday, so that was only a few days afterward.”

Zohar said those were the scariest four days and that they didn’t eat or sleep.

“We didn’t know where he was,” Zohar said. “If he was alive, if he was dead, where his body is.”

Zohar said when the terrorists attacked, he stayed to take care of his injured friends.

“He was loved by so many,” she said. “About 3,000 people arrived to his funeral and that was not even all of his friends who were able to make it since they had to go back to their base when the war has started.”

She said the community gathered in support of his family and friends, but her family wasn’t able to go.

“It was really hard to find flights from here to there,” Zohar said. “They were trying to bring all the people who needed a reserve military, people that served in the IDF to go from here to there or wherever they were.”

Zohar said her cousin’s base was in the Southeastern part of Israel, but most of her family lives in the Northern part, but she said Israel is a small country and they live in fear every day.

“Seeing them celebrate their killings and murderings is just crazy because this is something so brutal and even seeing pictures and hearing them makes me have nightmares,” she said.

Zohar said this war has made her country united and said at the end of the day if they can’t be there for each other then no one else will.

Zohar said that while her family lost a son, brother, cousin, and friend, he saved many lives that day.

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Jackie LiBrizzi is a multimedia journalist at News13. Jackie is originally from Hamilton, New Jersey, and was raised in Piedmont, South Carolina. Jackie joined the News13 team in June 2023 after she graduated as a student-athlete from the University of South Carolina in May 2023. Follow Jackie on X, formerly Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and read more of her work here.