Those We Have Lost

Commander Itzik Buzukashvili, 44: Battled terrorists with daughter

Killed by an RPG attack while working to save lives near Kibbutz Re’im on October 7

Police Commander Yitzhak Buzukashvili who was killed in Kibbutz Re'im on October 7, 2023. (Israel Police)
Police Commander Yitzhak Buzukashvili who was killed in Kibbutz Re'im on October 7, 2023. (Israel Police)

Israel Police Commander Itzik “Bazuka” Buzukashvili, 44, the commander of the Segev Shalom police station, was killed battling Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Re’im on October 7.

After hours operating on the front lines saving lines, Buzukashvili headed to Re’im to try and rescue his close friend, Police Commander Jayar Davidov, commander of the Rahat station, who had been wounded. He was killed when his vehicle was hit by an RPG fired by Hamas. Davidov also did not make it out alive.

Buzukashvili is survived by his wife, Tali, and their three children, Orel, 24, Liel, 21 and Noa, 15.

Liel, who is serving in the Border Police, told Channel 12 news that he was “truly a warrior in his heart. The fighter that I am today is only because of him.”

Both father and daughter set out to the front lines together on Saturday morning as the Hamas onslaught began. “We began to just see cars with people shot inside them,” she recalled. “We were driving in between bodies.” They also saw terrorists along the streets and fired at them, managing to take out a few, and started to pick up the wounded and those fleeing.

First Sgt. Yisrael Solomini told the TV station that “he was simply a hero. If Bazuka hadn’t shown up with his strength,” many more people would be dead, including five partygoers who had met up with Liel two weeks later to relive the moment. “If he’d arrived two minutes later we’d be eulogizing them.”

Commander Itzik Buzukashvili and his daughter, Staff Sgt. Liel Buzukashvili (Courtesy)

Police Sgt. Maj. Yigal Zinger, who himself saved hundreds, was wounded and rescued by Buzukashvili. From his hospital bed, he tearfully recounted the moment that “Bazuka showed up in a reinforced jeep, he was in the jeep with his daughter… at the very last second they saved me.”

Buzukashvili then headed further toward the Gaza border, and this time refused to let Liel join. “We argued and he said no, you’re staying here. He knew what they were about to face… I gave him a kiss, closed the door, and that’s the last time I saw him.”

She remained nearby and was listening on police radios when news came that he had been fatally wounded. Even though she struggled to accept such a possibility, “in my head I said, even if Dad is not here with me, I’ll do everything to keep on fighting,” and she continued on to Ofakim to battle terrorists.

Chief Inspector Or Yosef, who was in the car when Buzukashvili and another police officer were killed and was himself wounded, said, “when you go in after him, you feel the most protected in the world. Because you’re going in behind the strongest, most professional person I’d ever met.”

At his funeral, many spoke of his bravery and composure under fire.

“You halted a blitz as you were rescuing the wounded and other police officers, including your friend Ge-ar,” recounted Buzukashvili’s deputy, Mani Ohayon, at his funeral, according to Ynet. “In your life and your death, you were not parted. My dear commander, your courage guided you like an arrow. Much will still be said about your heroism.”

Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai said at his funeral that it was personally “very difficult to stand here right now, in front of an open grave. I am proud, proud that these are the commanders of the Israel Police.”

Wife Tali, vowed to memorialize her husband “by telling his story, all of his stories.”

She told a local Beersheba news site that she was able to get out of bed in the morning “only because of the strength Itzik gave me… he wouldn’t want us to fall apart, he’d want us to be united, to be one loving family hugging each other. It’s important to me to memorialize his story so that people know what a hero he was that he saved lives, that we’re still here because of him.”

“He saved my life when he left me there at that intersection,” said Liel. “If we had both been killed, the family would not be able to handle the pain.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here. 

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