32-year-old Or Eshkar succumbed to injuries he sustained 11 days after being shot by a Palestinian terrorist.
By Erin Viner
The victim was en route to a wedding celebration when he was gunned down on the coastal city‘s central Dizengoff Street. He was accompanied by his friends Rotem Mansano, 34, and Michael Osdon, 36, both of whom are now recovering from moderate to severe injuries.
Eshkar represented Israel at the Ironman World Championship just last October. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he wrote on social media at the time, saying that the sport “keeps proving that anything is possible.”
After the passing of her son, Natalie Eshkar said “A rare bright light was extinguished.” She went on to express thanks to “the dedicated hospital staff that has worked days and nights, doing all they can to keep him alive. Thanks to the dozens of amazing friends who hold us and wept with us, and to the people of Israel who supported and prayed, each according to their belief.”
The Eshkar family donated Or’s organs in lifesaving surgeries to five recipients.
“Or arrived to us after a prolonged field resuscitation. Against all odds, the emergency room managed to stabilize him. Unfortunately, his wounds worsened to a critical state – and after fighting heroically for over a week, during which we witnessed a true Ironman fighting for his life, he succumbed to his wounds,” said the Director of the Sourasky Medical Center, Professor Ronni Gamzu. After expressing gratitude to “Or’s family for being noble and agreeing to donate his organs,” Prof. Gamzu noted that, “under tragic circumstances, we were introduced to an amazing family of honor and value and we hope we were able to stand by their side during this difficult time.”
In a message addressed to her late partner posted on Instagram, Eshkar’s girlfriend Lee Menachem wrote: “You left with a heart that knows true love. I promise to be like you would want; I will live in your light and not in your shadow.”
Israeli leaders across the political spectrum were united in grief-stricken eulogies.
“We hoped and prayed. But, unfortunately, Or Eshkar, who was injured in the terror attack in Tel Aviv, succumbed to his wounds. It’s heartbreaking. I extend my condolences to his family and friends. May his memory be a blessing,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“My heart is torn by the death of Or Eshkar, who was fatally wounded in the terror attack at Dizengoff. A few days ago, I spoke with this brave mother, and together with all of the people of Israel, I prayed for his recovery. I send condolences to his family, his partner and his loved ones during this difficult time. May his memory be a blessing,” wrote President Isaac Herzog.
“The heart is breaking. Or the Iron Man fought until the last moment. Sending warmest condolences to his family, spouse and friends at your most difficult time. May his memory be a blessing,” said Opposition Leader Yair Lapid.
“The heart hurts with the hard news of the death of Or Eshkar who was injured in a terrorist attack in Dizengoff,” said Opposition Leader Benny Gantz, adding, “I spoke with his family last week, I was impressed by their strength and prayed along with them and the entire nation of Israel for his recovery, and today I ask to hug the family and friends and share their pain at this difficult time. May his memory be a blessing.”
A manhunt for those responsible for the 9 March attack is ongoing based on early reports and footage indicating there may have been two gunmen. One of the terrorists, Mutaz Salah al-Khawaja, 23, of the West Bank Palestinian town of Ni’ilin, was killed by Israeli security forces after a brief pursuit.