Avi Sasi, 64, a resident of California, was killed by Hamas terrorists while attending the Supernova music festival on October 7.
He was attending the rave at dawn with a handful of other family members, including his daughter, Danielle Sasi Peretz, his niece, Lee Sasi, and another niece, Nitzan Rahum, who was murdered along with her fiance.
Avi was described by friends and family as larger than life, a master of the barbecue, devoted to his large extended family, having a unique sense of style and making sure everyone knew the name “Mr. Avi Sasi.” He is survived by his wife, Eti, three daughters Danielle, Natalie and Morin, and three grandchildren.
Danielle wrote on Instagram that she had been dancing with her father at the rave when the rockets and air raid sirens started. They fled to a nearby bomb shelter and hid inside, thinking they were safe. Then came terrorists who fired at those hiding in the structure and threw grenades inside.
Danielle was shot in the leg, she wrote recounting their ordeal, “I call out ‘Abba [Dad], Abba they shot me,’ when he didn’t respond I knew that they murdered my dad. I went silent. I was in no pain. I was numb to my core… we went to the party the seven of us, only three of us came back.”
Avi’s niece, Lee Sasi, who spoke to CNN’s Jake Tapper about the horrifying ordeal, said they went to the party because their nephew and cousin, Omri Sasi, was DJing. Lee said that there were 35-40 people hiding out in the bomb shelter with them, and only nine emerged alive, as she watched people murdered right in front of her.
“I had to witness firsthand my uncle getting blown [up] and exploded by a grenade that they threw onto his stomach,” she recounted.
Avi, a native of Netanya, had been living in California, in the San Fernando Valley, for more than 30 years. He was visiting family in Israel over the holidays when he was murdered. He was buried in Netanya on October 15.
His daughter, Morin, wrote on social media, “From the moment I was born you were my hero, even on your last day on earth you left as a hero when you saved the lives of Danielle and Lee. You were everything to me, I don’t know how I can go on without you. If only I could wake up from this nightmare and run into your arms.”
His niece, Gital Sasi, wrote on Instagram that she “wanted to thank you for all that you were for me and for my father. Thank you for loving my children like they were your own grandchildren. Thank you for being a guide, a listening ear, who always gave advice. You will always remain a huge part of us… you pushed us to dream big and to reach our goals. You always told me ‘Gita, the sky’s the limit, don’t be afraid.'”
Video shared by Danielle showed Avi dancing as the sun rose at the festival, just hours before he was murdered.
“My Abba was one of a kind. He was real, and direct,” wrote Danielle on Instagram several weeks after his death. “His heart was the size of this universe. He gave and did for others without flaunting. You were lucky if you met him. My Abba, was [the epitome of] life in every aspect. He was loved by everybody.”
“He was loud, strong, he had a heart of gold,” she added. “He loved every human — babies, kids, teens, young people, old people and all nationalities too… he loved flowers, music, and cologne. He loved to travel and see museums. He loved food, food was his symbol of love and how to be loved… he had the energy of a 20-year-old. He had style and swag. He loved life with all the good and bad that came with it.”