The tearful funerals of the five Burgas airport suicide-bomb bombings were held in the course of Friday, drawing hundreds — and in some cases thousands — of mourners. Two sets of childhood friends and a newly pregnant woman, they were blown up on Wednesday at the start of what was supposed to have been a vacation, on the bus that was taking them from the airport terminal to their hotels in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort.
Hundreds attended the funerals of Itzik Idan Kolengi and Amir Menashe, childhood friends from Petah Tivah. They were laid to rest Friday morning at Petah Tikva’s Segula Cemetery.
At noon, thousands gathered at the Nahalat Asher Cemetery near Acre to bid a final farewell to Maor Harush, 24. His friend Elior Priess was laid to rest at 4 p.m. on Friday in the same cemetery.
Kochava Shriki, 42, was buried in the Rishon Lezion Cemetery by scores of family, friends and neighbors.
Kolengi and Menashe, both 28, were lifelong friends who traveled to Bulgaria with their wives earlier this week. Both their wives were injured in the attack.
Natalie Menashe was lightly injured. Gilat Kolengi, who was seriously hurt, had not been told of her husband’s death even after she was flown back to Israel on Thursday night. By Friday morning Gilat’s condition had improved to moderate condition. Her family visited her at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva and told her of her husband’s death. She did not attend the funeral.
The Kolengis had celebrated the birth of their first child just four months ago and the trip to the Bulgarian Black Sea report was planned as a long weekend away without their daughter, who was left in the care of her grandparents.
David Kolengi, Itzik’s brother, eulogized him saying, “I will never forget you. I promise you that the family and I will take care of your wife, Gilat, and your daughter, Noya, who resembles you.”
Natalie Menashe arrived at her husband’s funeral in a wheelchair. She mourned him saying, “I have no one now. We talked about our plans for the future and suddenly we were blown up. I saw him burned before my eyes. Next month was supposed to be his birthday. I don’t want to live anymore.”
Kochava Shriki had told her sister just moments before her death that she was pregnant. “I don’t believe the magnitude of the disaster that befell us, especially now that she became pregnant after so many attempts,” a relative of Kochava’s said.
“She wanted to be a mother at any price,” Shriki’s sisters lamented.
The last phone call Shriki had received before the bombing was from the hospital where she had fertility treatment to tell her she was finally pregnant. She had just called one of her sisters to tell them the news when the bus was blown up.
Shriki’s husband, Yitzhak, searched for her for hours after the explosion at the Burgas airport separated them.
“We got on the bus and sat in the fourth row,” he recounted to Ynet. “Suddenly I felt a strong explosion from my left. I fell on the floor and I was hazy for 20 seconds, I succeeded to get up a bit, but I was still dazed and dizzy. I moved towards the exit and shouted to my wife ‘come with me towards the exit.’ A few seconds later I saw she wasn’t with me.”
Maor Harush and Elior Priess were childhood friends who flew to Bulgaria for a vacation with another friend, Daniel Fahima. Harush and
Priess were slain on Wednesday, and Fahima was seriously injured. He was flown back to Israel and hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
Harush’s family and hundreds of friends and relations grieved at his funeral. “How can we part from you when we don’t really want to?” his sister Shira wept. “This coffin cannot contain your great heart.”