Friends ‘like brothers’ and Paralympic coach robbed of their futures

Tomer Morad, Eytam Magini and Barak Lufan were in Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street when the gunman opened fire


Police and forensics expert arrive at the scene in the aftermath of a shooting attack in Dizengoff Street in the centre of Israel's Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on April 7, 2022. - At least two people were killed and several wounded during an attack in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on April 7, a hospital said. It is the latest incident among a surge of violence in Israel and the West Bank since late March. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The terror attack on one of Tel Aviv’s busiest streets on Thursday night claimed the lives of three young Israeli men – two childhood best friends and a father of three who was a Paralympic coach.

Tomer Morad, 28, Eytam Magini, 27 and Barak Lufan, 35, were drinking at the Ilka bar on Dizengoff Street when Palestinian gunman Raad Hazem began firing at the crowded venue. CCTV footage shows terrified revellers tipping over benches and tables in a desperate rush to escape.

Mr Morad and Mr Magini, close friends who grew up together in Kfar Sava, near Tel Aviv, were killed at the scene. Mr Lufan was rushed to hospital and died from his injuries in Sourasky Medical Center the following day.

Mr Magini had been engaged to be married to his girlfriend Ayala for a month. The couple met in South America, separated, but met again by chance and began dating.

When Ayala heard there had been an attack she rang her fiancé, but he did not answer.

“We knew that if he hadn’t called to tell her he was ok, something had happened,” Ayala’s mother Lia Arad told the news site Walla. “I went to Ichilov [hospital]. From their faces I understood. Instead of a wedding, there will be a funeral.

“In this house, where we are now mourning, there was supposed to be a party this evening. We are all devastated. They had started making lists for the wedding and had set up times to see venues.”

Mr Magini’s grave will now lie alongside that of his best friend Mr Morad in Kfar Sava’s Pardes Haim Cemetery. After military service, they both studied at Tel Aviv University.

Having serving as a crew chief in an Israeli navy submarine unit, Mr Magini was studying for an undergraduate degree in neuroscience, psychology and computer science.

Mr Morad had just graduated from his mechanical engineering course and taken up a new job.

Alon Grossman, a friend of Mr Morad, told Ynet: “Tomer was the glue that held our group together, an officer in the [IDF’s] Nahal [infantry brigade], a man of values, he always took care of everyone and now he was taken from us, and we no longer have Tomer and his friend Eitam.

“They were best friends; they grew up together and went out together. This is a disaster we simply cannot wrap our heads around. We lost two friends who were like brothers.

“Tomer had a beautiful relationship with Arielle and now everything’s ruined. I cannot understand how we lost my good friend, the excellent cook who always used to spoil us with special and delicious food.

“They decided to go to a pub and were murdered there.”

In her first public comments, Mr Morad’s girlfriend of six years Arielle said: “My dreams have been shattered, and me with them. I want to say thank you. Thank you for the privilege to be by your side for seven years, every day, for all the incredible experiences we had together.

“I will be strong, I will be yours forever, my love.”

Speaking at his funeral, Mr Magini’s father said: “I promise that everyone will remember what a wonderful person you were. I will love you forever, until the day I die.”

Israeli web development company Wix also paid tribute to employee Mr Magini, tweeting: “We’re deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our Wix family member, Eytam Magini, who was murdered by a terrorist last night.

“Eytam was smart, full of charisma and had a million dollar smile.”

Mr Magini carried an organ donation card, and his corneas are set to be used for transplant surgery.

Barak Lufan died on Friday, the day after the attack, becoming the 14th victim of terror attacks in Israel over the past few weeks.

The Paralympic and Olympic kayaking coach from Kibbutz Ginosar in northern Israel leaves behind a wife and three children.

In a statement, his family paid tribute to “our beloved Barak”.

They said that they would remember: “the grandson of the founders of Kibbutz Ginosar, an exemplary husband and father, an athlete with every fiber of his being, a member of the Olympic kayaking team staff, and an educator of the future generation in the field, has left us prematurely.”

Mr Lufan, the head of the Israel Canoe Association, was at Ilka celebrating a birthday with a group of friends from the kibbutz on which he had grown up.

Family friend Padmini Iris Shamir said on Facebook: “The beloved Lufan family is the backbone of the kibbutz I come from.

“A tribe of lovely charming brothers and sisters, hundreds of cousins.

“I remember afternoon teas feeding whole generations, playing instruments at every party and smiles that never leave their faces, each and every one of them is kind and full of light. This is how we grew up, with their legacy.”

Almost 300 people have now signed a petition calling for Mr Lufan to be commemorated with a memorial at the site of his killing.

The petition’s author hailed the athlete as “one of the special and powerful people I have come to know and admire”. A 40-kayak flotilla on Tel Aviv’s Yarkon River was held to celebrate his life. His kayak has been left at the pier in a memorial.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive