Those we have lost

Staff Sgt. Shlomo Reshetnikov, 20: Lone soldier from Russia

Killed while battling the Hamas invasion of southern Israel on October 7

Staff Sgt. Shlomo (Dmitri) Reshetnikov (IDF)
Staff Sgt. Shlomo (Dmitri) Reshetnikov (IDF)

Staff Sgt. Shlomo (Dmitry) Reshetnikov, 20, a lone soldier from Russia who served in the Golani Brigade, was killed on October 7 while battling the Hamas invasion of southern Israel.

He was buried on October 13 on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. He is survived by his parents, Natalia and Oleg, and his older brother, Andrey.

Born in Volgograd, in southwest Russia, Shlomo moved to Israel in 2017 by himself as a teenager, as part of the Na’aleh program. He completed high school near Haifa and then enlisted in the IDF in 2021.

Yohai Segal, wrote in Israel Hayom that he was Shlomo’s commander in the army when he first enlisted: “Dmitry came to me, two days after he enlisted, and asked that from that day forward I call him Shlomo, because he was a Jewish soldier in Israel… He had a good heart, a very good heart.”

Sarah Yalanzhi, who headed up the dormitory where Shlomo went to high school, said though he arrived late in the school year, he fit right in: “He was a diligent and friendly student, modest and gentle. He was loved in class and by the staff, he was full of joy for life, respected and respectful. He was always ready to help and support, he was a person with a huge heart,” she said, noting that he learned the guitar amid his studies and took part in the school band.

Reporter Lior Ben Ami wrote in Ynet about how he met Shlomo during reporting he did on Golani’s 51st Battalion in Hebron in early 2023. The young soldier told him at the time, “I heard a lot about Israel and I understood that I was Jewish, that this is my country. I moved here not just to learn or to study but also to live here.”

Noting that his immigrant roots and noticeable accent made him an easy target, Shlomo nevertheless told Ben Ami that he had found a support system in Golani: “We’re like a family. I feel like there are people behind me.”

Shlomo also had a support system in his adoptive family in Israel, Leah and Avidan Sa’ad, with whom he built a connection for close to seven years.

“It was impossible not to love him,” Leah Sa’ad told Ma’ariv. “He was polite, gentle, our kids connected to him, they were just like siblings.” She said he came to stay with them regularly and spoke often on the phone, “he would share, seek advice. When he had breaks from the army we felt like ‘our son is coming home,'” she said. “We were so proud of him. He was just like one of the family.”

Leah said, “Shlomo went after his heart and his dream to be in Israel and to serve the homeland. He was so proud to be a combat soldier.”

When Shlomo’s mother, Natalia, came to Israel for his funeral, she united with Leah, and the two mothers identified his body together and grieved for their biological and adoptive son together, they told Ynet.

Natalia recalled to the news outlet flying to visit Shlomo around a year before he was killed: “When I flew to him, it wasn’t on a plane, it was on wings,” she said. “I was so looking forward to embracing him. The last time he was home he was a child… When we met it was incredible to see a mature boy, serious, and happy.”

His mother Natalia said she told him during her visit: “‘Mom, I’m the happiest, I have two mothers in this world — you are far, I can speak to you, and Leah is here, and she is close to me.'”

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