They Almost Murdered Haim Gozali – Endless Drama in Ukraine

Gozali won the fight, but the price of victory was unbearable. The Israeli flag, which spread its wings in the victory arena, was stained by an attempted murder
Haim Gozali


On an ordinary day, Haim Gozali, an esteemed and experienced Israeli MMA fighter, experienced an extreme ordeal that could have ended in disaster. Gozali, along with his son Elad and coach Ben El Hassid, traveled to Ukraine (Kolomyia city) to participate in a fighting competition. However, during their stay at the hotel, the experience turned into a real nightmare when they were violently attacked with live gunfire directed at them. In a riveting interview, Gozali reenacts the terrifying moments and tells of the conduct of the local police, which seems like a delusion.

"They shot at us from point-blank range".

It all began as a routine journey to a boxing competition in Kolomyia, Ukraine. Gozali, his son Elad, and coach Ben El Hassid arrived at the hotel where they were staying for the scheduled fight. After a long journey through Romania, they were exhausted and decided to rest in their rooms. "We arrived at the hotel, completely exhausted. We checked in, and each of us went to our respective rooms to shower and get ready for sleep", Gozali recalled. "I hadn't even had a chance to get into the shower when suddenly an air raid siren went off".

The situation quickly deteriorated. "Elad and Ben El ran to my room; all three of us were trying to figure out what to do because no one had briefed us, so we just waited a minute", Gozali said. Suddenly, screams of terror were heard in the hallway. "When Haim opened the door, he was surprised to find Ben El grappling with an assailant in the hallway", he added. The scene turned Hollywood-esque when the assailant drew a firearm and opened fire. "He walks down three steps backward and pulls a gun out of a bag he had in his hand. Before I can even understand what's happening, I find myself running with Elad as the guy is shooting at us from almost point-blank range".

Hiding on the Hotel Roof in the Rain.

The situation was extremely dangerous. "Seriously, this guy pulled out a gun and shot at us. Ben El ran in one direction, and Elad and I ran in another", Gozali continued. "The only thing we could do was go out the window onto the connected roof and hide there by the window". They feared the assailant would search for them, so they chose to hide on the adjacent roof. "So that if he came out looking for us, at least we would have the element of surprise, and I could throw him off the roof. So we ran outside and hid on the roof".

Police Delusion – Not Investigated, No Police Car Called.

What shocked Gozali was the conduct of the local police after the incident. "What happened after that was simply a delusion", he recounted angrily. "All night, we sat on the roof without any cover, naked and waiting for help for hours in the rain. No one came". He claims that no police car was called to the scene, and they were not investigated for the serious incident.

"We tried to somehow contact the organizers of the competition, and finally, after many hours of waiting, a paramedic came to transfer us to another hotel", Gozali said. "They moved us to another place in the city, and that's how the whole night passed until we decided that was it, we were done with Ukraine and going home".

This severe incident shook public opinion in Israel. An attempted brutal murder of an Israeli citizen was almost not investigated by the Ukrainian police.

Such conduct raises serious questions about the enforcement capabilities of the authorities and the possibility of discrimination on ethnic grounds.

Security forces are supposed to protect every citizen and foreigner equally in the territory of the state, without prejudice. The lack of involvement in this severe case raises grave concerns about the proper functioning of law enforcement and governance in Ukraine.

Interestingly, if a Ukrainian citizen had experienced such treatment in Israel, what would Ukraine have said?

The Israeli Foreign Ministry is silent, and the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel is not responding.

The shocking incident raises a few fundamental questions: How could it be that in such a severe incident, the police were not called, and the local security forces did not act? Why have the Israeli and Ukrainian foreign ministries remained silent so far? Maariv also reached out to the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel but has yet to receive a response from them.