Isaac Siton was visiting Kibbutz Be’eri with his family when the Hamas terror group attacked the southern Israeli community on October 7, killing him, his wife Chana, his son Tal, and Chana’s sister Pessy.
Siton was a longtime member of the diamond industry and a beloved figure at manufacturer Grandview Klein Diamonds, where he was manager of the firm’s Namibia factory.
For company president Moshe Klein, Siton’s death is “an open wound.” Speaking with Rapaport this week, Klein shared his memories of Siton’s kindness, dedication and expertise.
How long did you know Isaac Siton?
He was with us for 18-and-a-half or 19 years. He started out in South Africa as an assistant manager. For the last 14 years, he was the manager in charge of our factory in Namibia. He never raised his voice to anyone and was a father figure to many. He was a phenomenal human being, and his death is an open wound for us.
How did you learn about his fate?
He lived in Windhoek, Namibia, but he went home [to Israel] for a well-deserved vacation after completing a huge buildout at our center in Namibia. He and his wife met their son and her sister there. When we couldn’t reach him, we thought that maybe he was a hostage, but once we got confirmation that that Pessy and Tal were found, we knew Isaac and his wife were dead.
What was he like, as a person and an employee?
Isaac was a true professional with a lot of knowledge and who understood diamonds. Nobody was better than him at teaching — he had the right amount of patience. He taught single mothers and kids, and he would sit with them with all the patience in the world and take people under his wing. He certainly didn’t deserve to die this way. No job was too big or too small, and whatever challenge came along, he said “Don’t worry about this.” He was one of the nicest people in world.
How is Grandview Klein dealing with his loss?
We held a big memorial service for employees last week, and we’ll hold an event in Namibia again next week. He will always be part of our family. We will probably name a building in his memory. We’ve had an outpouring of love and support, and as a practicing Jew, it’s encouraging [to see people] offer their sincere support.
We call ourselves a family business because all our employees are literally like family. For this to happen to one of our key people is like a punch to the gut.
We’re mourning one of ours, but there’s another 1,500 families mourning their kids, grandparents, and others. It’s such a tragic occurrence.
Image: Isaac Siton. (Grandview Klein)