Nahal Oz victim's sister: I blame Olmert

Proper security would have saved the two men murdered in Wednesday's attack, mourners say.

funeral terror 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
funeral terror 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Just a few weeks ago, Oleg Lipson, 37, escaped death when he hid from a Gaza Palestinian's sniper fire at the Nahal Oz fuel depot, right next to the border. On Wednesday, however, there was no escape. Lipson received a warning of Wednesday's impending attack just as he and other employees of the Dor Alon company, which supplies fuel to Gaza, had finished sending the latest shipment to the Palestinians on the other side. He and his good friend Lev Cherniak, 53, raced to a nearby car to clear it out so that they and other employees at the depot could escape, a colleague of the two men told The Jerusalem Post as he stood outside Lipson's home in Beersheba on Thursday night. But Lipson and Cherniak, both immigrants from the former Soviet Union, never made it farther than the vehicle before Palestinians riddled their bodies with bullets, the colleague said. "Did he die right away?" Lipson's younger sister Svetlana asked this colleague as she listened to the tale at the family home after the funeral, her eyes still red from crying. "Yes," he said. Dozens of mourners gathered in a blue plastic tent set up outside, almost too shocked and angry to speak. The colleague, who also works for Dor Alon, and who was with Lipson at the time of the previous narrow escape, was at the depot on Wednesday until five minutes before the attack. "I told [Oleg and Lev], 'I am leaving.' [Oleg] said, 'I am going too.'" The attack happened as the colleague, who asked not to be named, was on his way to the Dor Alon office nearby. Once there, he learned that while others at the depot who had hidden had been accounted for, Oleg was not answering his phone, and Lev's had been disconnected altogether. "I had music on, so I didn't hear the news," he said. "At first, I assured those in the office that the two were probably still hiding. But then survivors of the attack called in to say that they had seen the pair at the scene and didn't think they could have survived." The workers had long complained about the lack of security, but the army had done nothing. "They didn't have a gun or even a bulletproof jacket," said another colleague, Igor Kaminesky. The loss of the two, he said, as well as the army's and the government's failure to protect those at the border, "sticks in my throat." "He [Lipson] gave the Gazans everything by giving them fuel so they could cook food and the hospitals could function. And they killed him in a horrible way," said Kaminesky. Another mourner, Alex Aleskovsky, said Lipson had been prepared to work at the border for precisely that reason. "I once asked if he was scared, and he said, 'No, I give them fuel, so they won't kill me." Aleskovsky said he was angry at the government for failing both to protect the men and to enter Gaza to stop the violence once and for all. "I'm willing to go into Gaza to kill them [the Palestinians] myself," he said. If nothing happens soon, there will be another terror attack, Aleskovsky added. "I blame [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert - he is responsible," said Svetlana, who heard the news while she was abroad studying and returned for the funeral. Lipson's friends and sister could not say enough about how generous and loving he had been to those around him. "He always had a smile on his face," said Svetlana. "His house was always open. He loved to hike, and to make barbecues and to play on his computer." She said she had communicated with her brother via Skype while she was abroad. Svetlana related that the family had come from Uzbekistan in 1992, at which time her brother had already completed two years of medical school. But he found it difficult to continue his medical studies here, she said, so he chose other options. He had been working for Dor Alon for 10 years and liked it, she said. Nine years ago, he married, and a year later had a son, who is now eight, said Svetlana. She and Lipson's widow, Irana, stood next to each other at the funeral, hugging and crying. Their tears fell onto the dry sand by the grave. They were joined by Cherniak's widow. His funeral is scheduled for Friday at the same cemetery. As Lipson's body lay in the stretcher by the open grave, Irana bent over it and caressed it with her hand. She pushed her palm onto the blue cloth many times before the undertakers rolled the body into the grave.