Those We Have Lost

Danny Vovk, 45: ZAKA diver ‘fended off 20 terrorists’ before death

Ukrainian immigrant with no immediate family was killed in Netiv Ha’asara, October 7

Danny Vovk (Courtesy)
Danny Vovk (Courtesy)

Danny Vovk, 45, was killed while battling Hamas terrorists who invaded Netiv Ha’asara on October 7.

Vovk, a Ukrainian immigrant who lived in Israel for more than 25 years, moved a few years ago to the Gaza border town.

A former municipal safety officer in Ramat Hasharon — who had been previously honored by the city for his actions — Vovk did not hesitate to head out to attempt to fight back against Hamas on that fateful Saturday, friends said.

“Your friend called and told you there was a terrorist invasion,” wrote Hadar Raz, who previously worked with Vovk in Ramat Hasharon, on Facebook. “You left the house, in shorts and flip flops, with a gun and your two dogs. You succeed in deterring 20 armed terrorists, and you sacrificed your life.”

Raz added that it was “unthinkable that I will no longer hear your unique laughter — a friend of 15 years, my brother.”

Vovk was a longtime diving volunteer with the ZAKA rescue and retrieval organization, taking part in dozens of life-saving missions over the years.

“Throughout his life Danny acted with great devotion to other people, just as he did in his death,” the organization said in a statement.

Noam Kalush, who also lived in Netiv Ha’asara, noted on Facebook that Vovk did not leave behind any immediate family, and he wanted to ensure his memory lived on.

“Danny was my neigbor, and I never met anyone like him… with a huge heart and so much soul and generosity,” he wrote. Kalush noted that while Vovk did not have children, he had informally adopted two teenagers with nowhere else to go, “and became their mother, father and grandmother.”

“He would always offer to help here or go there, always with a smile and goodwill,” recalled Kalush.

Alex Lev recalled his friend in a Facebook post as someone “who loved the sea and the sea loved him. No doubt a special man, and everyone who ever knew him will not forget him.”

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