Yaniv Zohar

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Yaniv Zohar, an Israeli photographer and cameraman working for the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Israel Hayom, was killed during an October 7 Hamas attack on kibbutz Nahal Oz in southern Israel. According to his employer and news reports, his wife and two daughters were also killed in the attack. 

Israel Hayom editor-in-chief Omer Lachmanovitch told CPJ that Zohar was about to leave his home to cover the assault but was unable to do so. He was killed at his home along with his family.

An estimated 1,200 Israelis were killed in the surprise Hamas raid and about 240 were taken back to Gaza as hostages. Israel responded to the incursion with attacks on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, launching air and ground strikes that left thousands dead. 

In an article by the Israeli daily Haaretz, his manager, Ami Shoman, said that he texted Zohar to get ready when the sirens signaling the Hamas rocket attacks sounded at 6:30 a.m. and asked him to take cover and go get pictures when the attack ended. 

“The family was in the shelter. We talked all morning. He told me that there was a shooting outside. I saw a message that he sent to another friend saying ‘there are terrorists at home. Call the special unit Duvdevan. I am closing.’ They found him with his wife and daughters,” Shoman told Haaretz. 

Prior to joining Israel Hayom, Zohar worked for The Associated Press’ Israel Bureau for 15 years, from 2005 to 2020, covering various topics, including the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Palestinian militants the following year, according to an AP report.  

“Yaniv was AP’s eyes and ears in southern Israel, always among the first to respond to news in the busy region,” AP Executive Editor Julie Pace said

Zohar continued to report the news for Israel Hayom from southern Israel. In the months prior to the Hamas attack, he covered the heat wave in Ashkelon, the training of Israeli special forces, and the Israeli defense minister’s remarks on the anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War.