Those we have lost

Omer Zadikevitch, 50: IT specialist with a deep love of surfing

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

Omer Zadikevitch (Courtesy)
Omer Zadikevitch (Courtesy)

Omer Zadikevitch, 50, was murdered by Hamas terrorists just outside his home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7.

Home alone in the kibbutz that Saturday morning, Omer headed to his reinforced room when the rocket fire began. But not long after, he decided to head out. His family said he was in charge of the communications systems of the Sha’ar Hanegev region, and was supposed to head to the regional council’s war room during any such escalation.

As seen on his home’s camera next to his back door, Omer, with his backpack on his shoulders, called a neighbor to seek advice on whether to head out, then decided to leave, walking outside hesitantly at 7:16 a.m. He was never seen or heard from again alive, and his family believes he was shot dead within minutes, next to his car.

His former brother-in-law, Shachar Aviani, the Kfar Aza local security chief, was also killed that day.

In an interview with Channel 13 news in 2014, during the 50-day war, Omer suggested on camera that if they ever heard about a terrorist invasion of the kibbutz, “we’d run to the car and flee… that’s your only chance to stay alive,” he said then, as his then-wife suggested she would hide their children in closets.

His funeral was held on October 16 in Sde Warburg, and he was buried privately afterward in Kfar Aza. He is survived by his four children, Liran, Netaly, Lior and Gali, his girlfriend Shimrit Sfarad and her son, Ma’ayan, his mother, Dina and his three brothers, Nir, Yaniv and Uri. His father, Yoel, died exactly a month before Omer was killed.

On Omer’s gravestone, his family engraved a sentence he said just a few weeks earlier at his father’s funeral: “My father, you will never be dead to me, the spirit of life you infused in me will stay in my heart forever.” After his father died, Omer decided to purchase the plot next to him, surprising his family who didn’t understand why he was suddenly speaking of his own mortality.

Family and friends described Omer as a childlike optimist, with a deep love for the kibbutz where he lived for decades, and built his own home largely with his own hands. An IT professional, he could always be called on to solve any computer issues large or small. He was known for his deep love of surfing and the ocean, something he instilled in all of his children, and also loved to document through photography and videography, including on his YouTube channel.

His girlfriend, Shimrit, noted in a post on Facebook that she met Omer while pregnant, “and he embraced my son Maayan and raised him like his own — from before his birth until [he was killed].” Omer was with her in the hospital when Maayan was born, she wrote, “and from that moment he was Maayan’s father in every way, his children are really the older siblings of my son.”

Omer, she said, “beyond being a wonderful father to his wonderful and beloved children, beyond being a magical and happy person who knew everything and could do everything with his own hands and had solutions to everything,” was devoted to her and Maayan even without a biological connection.

Liran, his son, told Channel 13 that “Dad was a very happy person, even now when I look through his pictures I only see him smiling. He really loved the sea, surfing, and more than anything his children. Those were the two things that drove him in life. We’ll always remember him as happy and joyful and smiling.”

His daughter, Gali, wrote on Facebook to “my best friend, the one person who was always there for me. What a wonderful person you were — I never knew anyone else who was so happy, so optimistic like you.”

“I will keep laughing and being happy just because I know that you would have wanted it,” she added. “I will keep going in my life so that you can look down on me from above and be proud of me.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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