Those we have lost

Andrei and Zoya Zemkov, 39 & 45: Siblings slain next to family home

Murdered by Hamas terrorists in Ofakim on October 7

Zoya and Andrei Zemkov (Courtesy)
Zoya and Andrei Zemkov (Courtesy)

Andrei Zemkov, 39, and his sister Zoya Zemkov, 45, were murdered near their family’s home in Ofakim by Hamas terrorists on October 7.

The siblings were spending the holiday weekend at their parents’ home. When the air raid sirens began on October 7, Zoya left her home to run to a bomb shelter, and was shot dead by a terrorist lying in wait. Andrei ran out to the street to see what was going on and was also killed.

A neighbor, Nadezhda, told the Davar news outlet that Andrei took a weapon from a wounded soldier who joined them in the shelter and went out to the street to fight back against the terrorists: “When we walked outside, we saw Andrei’s body without a weapon, laying not far from where his sister was lying wounded,” she recounted. Zoya was still alive, she said, but ambulances didn’t arrive until many hours later and she died of her wounds.

Mark Yadgarov, whose parents, Rosa and Yuri were also murdered in Ofakim that day, told the Vesty Russian-language Israeli news outlet that the siblings’ mother, Ella, “stood between the bodies of her children and sobbed: ‘Lord, how could you take away two children from me in one day?'”

Andrei and Zoya are survived by their parents, Ella and Yuri, brother David and sister Galina.

According to Army Radio, Andrei was a “tough boxer” who was addicted to the National Geographic channel, while Zoya loved to watch movies, to cook and to eat Oshpelo, a traditional Bukharian rice and meat dish.

A eulogy posted on the Ofakim municipal website said they grew up in a traditional Bukharian Jewish family and immigrated to Israel around 25 years ago.

Zoya, it reads, “was a pretty girl, modest, polite, a listening ear to anyone who approached her. She loved to cook and always kept the house clean, she was a smiling and cheerful woman.”

The eulogy described Andrei as “cheerful, smiling, athletic,” who served during his mandatory military service as a tank technician: “Andrei was beloved by his friends, worked in home renovations and was planning to get married soon.”

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