Those we have lost

Valeri Fridman, 60: Grandfather who was ‘the funniest person ever’

Murdered by Hamas terrorists along with a busload of fellow travelers in Sderot on October 7

Valeri Fridman (Courtesy)
Valeri Fridman (Courtesy)

Valeri Fridman, 60, of Dimona, was murdered by Hamas terrorists in Sderot on October 7.

Valeri was one of 13 people taking part in an organized trip for older Israelis, mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union, to the Dead Sea that morning, when their minibus got a flat tire near Sderot and stopped next to a bus stop in the city to try and fix it.

While the group was standing there, rocket sirens rang out, and the bus stop bomb shelter — which was supposed to automatically open during a siren — remained electronically locked. Moments later, a pick-up truck of terrorists drove by and shot dead all 13 travelers. Only the driver emerged alive.

Images of the group of pensioners lying dead at the bus stop were among the first to circulate on the morning of the Hamas onslaught, shocking Israelis and the world with the brutality of the assault.

Valeri was buried in Dimona on October 12. He is survived by his three sons, Gadi, Alon and Steve, and two grandchildren. The Dimona municipality said he worked in a factory in Sderot.

Family and friends remembered Valeri as a devoted fan of Maccabi Tel Aviv and a dedicated family man, who came to Israel 30 years ago from the former Soviet Union to establish a life in Israel.

A family friend, Galit Glikin, eulogized Valeri on Facebook as “the person with the most golden heart. My father’s closest friend, and an uncle to us from a young age when I still lived in Dimona. A beloved man, with a huge heart.”

Steve, Valeri’s son, visited the site where his father and so many others were gunned down, a month after the attack, and told Channel 12 news that the family “still haven’t accepted that this happened — we feel that Dad is coming home any minute.”

Valeri’s son, Alon, told Ynet that his father was looking forward to the day trip to the Dead Sea, “to disconnect a little bit from work.”

“Dad was probably the funniest person ever,” said Alon. “He got along with everyone and he had a big heart, we never saw him argue or fight with anyone, or say ‘no’ to anybody who asked him for anything. He was a special guy, he was always there for his grandchildren and for everyone.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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