Diamonds / Industry

Diamond Factory Manager Killed in Hamas Terror Attacks


Itzik Siton, the manager of Grandview Klein’s diamond cutting factory in Windhoek, Namibia, was among the 1,200 Israelis killed in the Hamas terror attacks on Israel that began on Oct. 7.

At press time, no other person who worked in the diamond industry was known to have been killed or taken hostage in the unprecedented spate of violence.

Siton was killed—along with his wife Chana, son Tal, and sister-in-law Pessy—while on vacation at Be’eri, an Israeli village that saw heavy casualties during the violence. Siton, who lived in Windhoek and was in his 70s, was first reported missing on Saturday,

“Our team is Namibia is devastated,” says Grandview president Moshe Klein. “Itzik was a kind, gentle man who wouldn’t hurt a fly. We have a big hole in our hearts, but we will carry on.

“We believe in love, humanity, and hope. Hamas have only darkness and evil. We will prevail. We have prevailed before and we will prevail again.”

Siton and his wife, Chana, who was also killed in the attacks

The attacks have been shattering to the industry in Israel, and currently are hurting the ability to trade, says Israel Diamond Exchange president Boaz Moldawsky.

“It is very difficult to do exports and imports because there is only one airline, El Al, working. Everything is very slow. But it will eventually come back.”

He says the Israeli exchange is currently open but not as crowded as usual. (Security measures restrict attendance on the floor to 50 people.) And while no members of the exchange are believed to have been hurt or killed, several had family members caught up in the tragedy.

A 22 year old, the son of one exchange member and grandson of another, was killed; that funeral was held yesterday. The daughter of another exchange member was also killed; that funeral is being held today. The son of another exchange member is currently missing.

World Federation of Diamond Bourses president Yoram Dvash says yesterday’s service was attended by 8,000 people—a symbol of how unified Israel currently is, after months of political division.

He says diamantaires are slowly returning to their offices, though selling gemstones is not the main thing on their minds right now.

“No one has the energy to work. No one is in the mood to make business right now. It’s all become unimportant.”

Following the attacks, industry groups send out statements of support and condolences.

“We unequivocally state our support for the people and the State of Israel and categorically condemn Hamas and their allies for the horrendous atrocities they have perpetrated, the countless murders committed, and the hundreds of hostages taken,” said Ronald Vanderlinden, president of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those innocent souls wherever they may be, who are caught in the crossfire of violence beyond their control.”

U.S. groups the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association, the Diamond Dealers Club, the Indian Diamond & Colorstone Association, and the American Gem Trade Association issued a joint statement saying they “stand in full support of Israel and our Israeli friends, family, and colleagues during these trying times.”

The Rapaport Group said in a statement: “We support the right of Israel to defend itself and pray for the thousands of innocent people attacked by Hamas and for the innocent Palestinians who will suffer because of Hamas’s savage attacks.

“The problem is not Jews and Arabs.… We are cousins who can and should live together in peace and prosperity.… May our people, Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, enjoy the shared blessings of our heritage.”

Photos courtesy of Grandview Klein

The spelling of the name of Siton’s wife, Chana, has been corrected. 

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By: Rob Bates

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