Rockets sirens follow Agadi to the grave and beyond

Moshe Agadi, a father of four, was killed by shrapnel that hit him in the chest; he died on the way to Barzilai Medical Center.

May 6, 2019 01:10
4 minute read.
Friends and relatives mourn during the funeral of Moshe Agadi, an Israeli man who was killed

Friends and relatives mourn during the funeral of Moshe Agadi, an Israeli man who was killed after a rocket fired from Gaza hit his house, during cross-border hostilities, in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon May 5, 2019. . (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

As the sun set in Ashkelon on Sunday night, two warning sirens less than an hour apart interrupted the mourners gathered to comfort the family of Moshe Agadi, 58, who was killed in the yard of his home overnight Saturday.

Twice they raced inside, leaving behind the large white mourning tent that had been set up outside the house.

From the outdoor stairs of the home, mourners could watch the Iron Dome batteries intercept Gaza missiles mid-air, leaving behind puffs of smoke in the sky.

Agadi, a father of four, was killed by shrapnel that hit him in the chest; he died on the way to Barzilai Medical Center.

A rocket fell just outside his home as he was in the yard reciting Psalms, his wife, Yaffa, recalled for Channel 13, explaining that the family was in the house and they didn’t even manage to make it to the safe room.

Speaking on Army Radio, his brother Shai Agadi, said he believed his brother also used that time in the yard before his death to smoke a cigarette.

“It took the ambulance 10 minutes to arrive,” she said. “The neighbors came and helped us stop the blood with towels. We have lost a very precious man. He was a charming person. He was a good father and grandfather and a charming and an exemplary husband who was always there for me.”

Agadi was the first of four civilian fatalities from the barrage of rockets that hit southern Israel during the day.

Hundreds of mourners including family members and friends ignored warning from the Ashkelon municipality and the Home Front Command to refrain from attending the funeral, which was held in an outdoor area that was impossible to secure from rocket attack.

Police directing traffic to the funeral wore flak jackets and helmets. Soldiers handed out instructions to the mourners that were also read over the loudspeaker at the funeral, in which mourners were reminded to hit the ground with their hands over their head if a warning siren rang out.

His niece described for mourners a man who was filled with happiness, always smiling and devoted to his faith.

“You were praying even when you were murdered,” she said. “From today we are a bereaved family. We are waiting for you to come through the door with a large smile, explaining that this has all been a joke.”

One of his relatives asked mourners at the funeral between sobs, “When will this all end? We do not have the strength for this.”
Pinhas Peretz, who organizes the three daily prayers at Agadi’s synagogue, said he had prayed with Agadi every day.

He recalled how just on Saturday Agadi had danced with the Torah scroll.

“I saw him every day,” Peretz said, explaining that he was a righteous man who was always ready to give to those around him.
A sign announcing his death was pasted to the green shrubbery around his pockmarked home, whose windows were burned and broken.

Agadi’s next door neighbor, Yosef Meir, was busy attempting to fix the window frame which had been broken in the attack.
Meir recalled how he and his wife had barely made it to the safe room prior to the attack before they heard a large explosion.
“We came out and the whole house was filled with smoke and a burning smell,” Meir said.

Around the same time as the attack that killed Agadi, another rocket fell between two apartment buildings, taking out the windows and damaging the buildings.

Turkish immigrant Chela Behar Atosu, who came to Israel over two decades ago, said she was in her apartment with her four children at the time of the attack. There as no safe room in their apartment, so they slept in the living rooms.

When the rocket fell, it looked like a large ball of fire rose up and all the windows in the apartment broke at once, she said.
By Sunday afternoon, the electricity, water and gas had been restored. But the broken glass shards that hung on some of the windows had not been cleaned up.

In some cases, like in the kitchen, the glass had been blown out all together.

Downstairs a group of young men sat on a stone wall and recalled how they had huddled in their stairwell nearby.

The situation in this neighborhood is not good, they said, explaining that there were no safe rooms or bomb shelters.

They were frustrated, they said, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not found a solution, but at the same time, they still supported him.

“There is no one like Bibi,” one of the young men said.

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