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Operation Shield and Arrow

Only Israeli casualty from Operation Shield and Arrow; an elderly Armenian immigrant caring for disabled husband

The family announced her funeral today, asks public to come and honor ‘a woman of valor’

View of a building in the central Israeli city of Rehovot which was hit by a rocket fired from Gaza, killing one person, May 12, 2023. (Photo: Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The only casualty of Israel’s Operation Shield and Arrow, 80-year-old Inga Avramyan, was an Armenian immigrant who cared for her disabled husband.

According to their grandson, Arthur, the couple may not have had enough time to reach the shelter because of his grandfather’s disability. His grandfather, Sergei, is an amputee following a serious car accident over a decade ago and uses a wheelchair.

“They didn't make it to the safe room. He must have gotten nervous, and she tried to help him get up, but the alarm started too late, they had much less than a minute and a half to get to the safe room and they didn't make it,” he said.

“It was hard for him to move around, he's an amputee because he was injured in a car accident and paralyzed in half his body,” Arthur explained.

On the day the rocket hit Avramyan's home, her family arrived at her apartment shortly after the incident but were denied entry due to the risk of collapse. “The scene was harsh, everything was destroyed, there was nothing left,” Arthur said.

Avramyan lived in an apartment on the second floor of the damaged building on Smilansky Street, with her husband Sergei, also in his 80s. The couple, who had been married for more than 50 years, immigrated to Israel from Armenia.

Inga was apparently hit by a collapsed beam or falling ceiling piece. Sergei sustained minor injuries from the strike.

“He has minor bruises. It was a real miracle. He just survived,” Arthur recounted.

He related that during the explosion there was a hole in the wall and his grandfather, who was on the bed at the time of the explosion, partially flew out through the hole, while still lying on the bed. A photo of Sergei's head "sticking out" from the hole in the building wall circulated on social media.

According to the IDF spokesperson, the rocket hit the city of Rehovot following a technical malfunction in the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Ehud Yellin, the Avramyans' landlord who lives directly opposite spoke with Ynet news.

“They are a very nice couple, pensioners from Armenia who immigrated to Israel. She took care of him with devotion. She took exceptional care of him. Sergei is a man to admire. My heart aches for them,” he said.

“Grandma was a Russian language teacher, an educated woman,” said their grandson Arthur. “My grandfather had a manufacturing plant. Both had high status in Armenia, but in Israel they found it difficult to get along with the Hebrew language.”

“After the accident…he became paralyzed in half his body, and moved around in a wheelchair,” he continued. “Grandma took care of him with devotion and love. She raised us all. Grandma was a woman of valor. I don't know what Grandpa will do without her.”

“He communicated only with her. She was his whole life,” Arthur related sadly. “There was a love between them that you don't see every day. Grandma wanted to live her life with dignity and that's how she ended it.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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