Those we have lost

Aviad Edri, 30: Lover of grapes who was ‘a nonstop prankster’

Murdered by Hamas terrorists near his home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7

Aviad Edri (Courtesy)
Aviad Edri (Courtesy)

Aviad Avraham Edri, 30, from Nitzan, was murdered by Hamas terrorists near his home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7.

Aviad had moved just a few months earlier to the youth housing of the kibbutz, where close to a dozen residents were murdered or kidnapped that day, including Yuval Salomon, Ofir Shoshani, Nitzan Libstein and couple Naor Hasidim and Sivan Elkabets.

In the neighborhood WhatsApp group, Aviad tried to warn others to seek safety, sending a hushed voice message saying, “Listen, they’re here, in our homes. They kidnapped my friend. They’re shooting at all the houses. Report it, call people. They’re breaking into all the homes.”

In the final video of Aviad alive, he could be seen outside his home in the kibbutz’s youth wing warning his neighbors to head inside and hide. The footage was filmed by Yotam Haim, who was taken hostage and accidentally killed by the IDF in Gaza in December.

Aviad’s sister said that when he realized that the door to his reinforced room didn’t close, he headed next door to the home of Alon Shamriz, and joined him there. Shamriz was kidnapped and accidentally killed alongside Haim in Gaza.

Aviad was considered missing for close to a week until his body was finally identified. He was buried on October 13 in Nitzan. His family later said that he was identified and buried without his head, which was found separately several weeks afterward and only buried in his grave five months later.

He is survived by his parents, Itzik and Ronit, and his siblings Lizi, Yisrael and Lital. He had a unique and close bond with his nieces and nephews, his family said.

Aviad grew in Gush Katif before moving to the southern town of Nitzan after the 2005 disengagement, and just a few months before he was killed, he decided to move to Kfar Aza. For the past three years, Aviad worked in marketing and selling grapes grown at a family-owned farm in the area. The family later named one of their vineyards after him in his memory.

His childhood friend, Liz Sela, wrote on Facebook that she would never stop “memorializing you, the things that characterized you so much.”

“Your love for people and food… you loved to host and knew how to be hospitable like the patriarch Abraham,” she added. “Our unique friend, who united us with his love for life, for food, for laughter, for joy. You left us heartbroken, and full of longing. You turned simple things, like grapes, full of meaning.”

His mother, Ronit, told the Kan public broadcaster that “the world lost a wonderful boy, with values, funny, who took everything easily — he had such a smile, dimples. He was a whole world.”

His older sister, Lizi, wrote on Facebook a week after his funeral, “This is the first time that I can speak about you and you won’t interrupt me. The first time I can speak and I won’t hear your firm opinion about my opinion. The first time I will speak and you won’t find something to laugh at me about.”

Lizi recalled that from Aviad’s very first steps, “You were quick, a man of action, moving from place to place, acquiring friends with ease — falling in love with your warm and bright nature was easy. A man of people, a man of humor and friends. You were a nonstop prankster, I’m sure there’s nobody here you didn’t pull a prank on.”

But, she added, “With your captivating smile full of innocence, nobody could ever be angry at you. You were a family man, with respect and values, you always sought to lend a hand, to be a support to others, with an open heart and a wide hand.”

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