Those We Have Lost

Master Sgt. Maxim Rizkov, 30: Reality TV ‘Ninja’ who ‘spread light’

Killed October 19 during an IDF operation in Tulkarem

Master Sgt. Maxim Rizkov who was killed in Tulkarem on October 19, 2023. (Courtesy)
Master Sgt. Maxim Rizkov who was killed in Tulkarem on October 19, 2023. (Courtesy)

Master Sgt. (res.) Maxim Rizkov, 30, from Beersheba, a Border Police officer in the West Bank, was killed during a military operation in Tulkarem on October 19.

He was fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device that was hurled at Border Police forces carrying out an arrest raid.

He is survived by his mother, Olga, sister Alexandra (Sasha), his grandparents and his girlfriend, Yuval. His father, Konstantin, predeceased him.

Born in Russia, he moved to Israel with his family when he was 3 years old. He was buried on October 20 in the military cemetery in Beersheba.

Razinkov was best known for his appearance on the reality TV show “Ninja Israel,” in both the second and fifth seasons of the series, which showcases the strength and gymnastic prowess of its competitors.

His sister, Sasha, told a local Beersheba news site that they managed to access his phone after his death, hoping to find a letter of goodbye: “I didn’t find anything, and then I understood that Max didn’t think about the worst that could happen. He was always sure of himself, his friends, his team, the skills of his elite unit.”

Every time Max went to reserve duty, she said, “It was like he was going to summer camp. He would iron all his clothes and pack his bag. We always knew he was taking care of himself, he always told us everything was fine, ‘What could happen to me?’ he would say. He was an athlete, strong, fast, skilled, smart, what are the chances?”

Shortly before he was killed, she said, he visited her during a brief break, “We sat, talked, laughed and he even told me ‘how beautiful you have become.’… he was the most beautiful angel, peaceful and calm.”

Sasha said that after her brother’s death, she decided to join the Border Police — where she served during her mandatory IDF service — and continue in his path: “Max was always proud of me and told me once that I was a copycat. Everything he did, I would do after him. Once he took me to a climbing wall in Beersheba and I didn’t know how I could climb because I had long fingernails, so I went and cut them. I could never tell him no. I feel empty today and don’t have thoughts about anything, just him. I will continue to memorialize him in every possible way all of my life.”

His girlfriend, Yuval Yeruham, wrote on Instagram about the moment that she received a knock on the door informing her “that the love of my life, the best, the strongest, the fastest” was killed. “Since then I’m trying to accept that my hero has become the hero of an entire nation.”

“Thank you for teaching me to always be the strongest, that you believed in me that I could do anything and get through anything,” she wrote. “Thank you for being the best friend in the world, my anchor, my safe place… you should know that you left behind an entire fleet of people who loved you deeply and truly.”

The explosion that killed him “may have only wounded you, but it sent shrapnel into the hearts of everyone who ever looked you in the eyes. You left all of us without enough words to describe what kind of person you were, and how much light you spread in this crazy world.”

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