Immigrant success story comes to tragic end

Sole fatality of Monday's Dimona suicide attack is laid to rest.

Razdolskaya 88 (photo credit: )
Razdolskaya 88
(photo credit: )
In their almost 50 years of marriage, they were rarely apart. But on Tuesday afternoon, as Lubov Razdolskaya's cloth-wrapped body was lowered into an open grave in a Beersheba cemetery, her husband Edward Gedalin fought for his life a short distance away in Soroka Hospital. Both were victims of Monday's suicide bomb attack in Dimona, in which Lubov was the sole fatality. With their heads down and their collars torn the couple's two adult sons, Michael and Constantine, stood by the grave, surrounded by the smell of the fresh brown dirt that had been thrown over the body. Holding a prayer book, a rabbi called out a final prayer that asked God for comfort as the first red streaks of the evening sunset stretched across the sky. Until Monday morning the family had been an example of a successful immigration story. When the family arrived from Georgia in 1990, Michael already knew Hebrew well and taught his parents. Within weeks, he began work as a physics professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. By 1991 his parents, who were also physicists and had moved to Dimona, became affiliated with the university and with the help of research grants for new immigrants worked on a number of research projects there. The couple, who went by different last names, would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year. They had bought their own home in Dimona and had planted a garden. Their new life here ended Monday morning when the pair had the misfortune to run errands in Dimona's old shopping center at exactly the time it was targeted by a suicide bomber. Michael, who lives in Beersheba, can recall the exact moment he last spoke with his mother. "She called me at 10:06 a.m. to say they had finished at the bank," he told The Jerusalem Post as he stood in the Beersheba cemetery after her funeral on Tuesday afternoon. With his hands in the pockets of his blue zip-up jacket, he spoke in a low voice and kept his answers simple and short. Half an hour later, Michael learned about the attack from his 19-year-old daughter, who was concerned about her grandparents. He called and called his parents on their cellphone. Alarmed, he began searching for them. Eventually he found his father, Edward, in Soroka, where he was listed in critical condition and has remained so. With his mother's whereabouts still unknown Michael became convinced that Lubov was the unknown fatality from the attack, even though the identification was not confirmed until that night. "I knew because my parents were always together," Michael said. BGU physics professor Aharon Davidson recalled that he had seen Michael in the office, trying to find his parents on the phone. Later he called Michael to check up on the situation. "I said, 'I just want reassurance that everything is OK.' He said, 'Aharon, everything is not OK.'" Davidson said he had collaborated with Edward on a number of projects that included research into gravity. He had last seen Edward a few months ago and had spoken to him about starting a new project together. Amnon Moalem, also a BGU physics professor, said that he had first worked with Lubov and through her met her husband, who joined a research team that worked on elementary particle physics. The whole family was very successful in Israel, said Moalem. "They were strong Zionists," he added.