Sunday, August 13, 2006

Obituaries for some of the fallen

From Haaretz:

Staff Sergeant. Uri Grossman, 20, of Mevasseret Zion
Staff Sergeant. Uri Grossman, 20, was killed by an anti-tank missile in a major ground offensive in southern Lebanon on Saturday. He was the son of David Grossman, a renowned novelist and peace activist in Israel, and he was killed just three days after the author publicly urged the government to end the war with Hezbollah guerrillas. Grossman's appeal to the government on Thursday came a day after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Security Cabinet approved the plan for the new offensive.

Yossi Abutbul, 20, from Gan-Ner
Yossi Abutbul from the community of Gan-Ner, near Afula, fought with the Golani Brigade. He was injured in the first week of fighting in Lebanon last month and could have chosen to recuperate at home but instead returned to fight alongside his comrades. He told his parents he was going for R&R when he was actually returning to Lebanon.

Abutbul was brought up in an ultra-Orthodox home but chose to join the Israel Defense Forces.

He was the oldest of seven. Yossi's father worked for the IDF before his retirement and became ultra-Orthodox several years ago.

Abutbul was laid to rest at 5 P.M. Sunday in the Afula military cemetery.

Corporal Tamer (Tomer) Amar, 19, from Julis

Corporal Tamer (Tomer) Amar, 19, served with Golani's Battalion 51. He was killed Saturday in Lebanon when an Israel Defense Forces tank crushed him and another soldier by mistake.

Adi Amar, a close friend, said that Amar was ambitious and serious, but also lively. "He was always smiling and liked helping friends, riding horses and taking hikes."

Amar joined his unit in Lebanon despite a recent shoulder injury. "He was very sad when comrades fell in battle at Bint Jbail and despite receiving medical leave he asked to return to his unit to fight," Adi Amar said.

Amar was laid to rest at 2.30 P.M. Sunday.

Corporal Ya'ar Ben-Giat, 19, from Kibbutz Nahsholim
Corporal Ya'ar Ben-Giat was killed Saturday in a battle against Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

Ben-Giat was the oldest son of Eera and Yossi. His mother, Eera, related Saturday that despite being defined as a gifted child in elementary school, Ya'ar much preferred basketball, playing computer games and going out with his friends to studying.

Last week he called home and told the family to be sure to watch the latest broadcast of "Fact," which would contain a segment about his Nahal unit.

In addition to his parents, Ben-Giat is survived by sister Nof, 16, and Nahar, 18. The funeral took place at 6:30 P.M. Sunday.

Staff Sergeant Itai Steinberger, 21, from Carmei Yosef
Itai Steinberger, 21, was killed Friday night in Lebanon. Last week he was interviewed for an article in the Friday magazine of Ma'ariv. "Whiskey, a woman, and a cigarette, that's the only thing I miss now," he announced, the unofficial spokesman for his unit.

Saturday afternoon, dozens of friends converged on the family home in Carmei Yosef.

Arik, Itai's father, stands at the doorway with reddened eyes. A visitor shows him recent pictures of his son from the army and tells him that Itai was the star among his fellow soldiers and was always full of joie de vivre even in the hell of Lebanon. The father also heard how Itai shielded his parents from the fact that three of the soldiers in his unit had already been injured.

Arik said he had not spoken to Itai since Tuesday.

Friends smile, relating how Itai would take up his guitar at night, strumming with one hand and drinking whiskey with the other and ordering them to stay up late with him.

Itai's younger brother, Yonatan, just finished basic training in the Paratroops and would now spend his leave in mourning. They spoke for the last time last Friday.

"I haven't changed my shoes for a week," Itai boasted to Yonatan. "And I haven't changed mine for two weeks," the new soldier boasted in return. "By the time you've been in the army as long as I have, I'll be barefoot and in India," Itai joked.

Sergeant Yaniv Tamerson, 21, from Zippori
Sergeant Yaniv Tamerson, 21, volunteered for combat service with the Armored Corps despite back problems that could have kept him out of combat duty. "He had to feel that he was making a contribution," his family said Saturday. Tamerson was drafted 18 months ago and loved the army. He completed a tank commanders' course three weeks ago, after which he began preparing to fight in Lebanon. He was killed one day after going into Lebanon.

Tamerson is survived by his parents and two brothers. He lived with his mother in Zippori. The funeral will probably be held Sunday.

Sergeant Tzachi Krips, 20, from Kibbutz Hama'apil
Sergeant Tzachi Krips enlisted in the army in November 2004 to an elite Nahal unit. He later completed a medics course. His company went up to Lebanon three weeks ago.

His older sister, Romy, said he had a heart of gold and always helped people.

Eliran Shafran, a childhood friend who grew up with Krips on the kibbutz, said he had always volunteered in school. He noted that Krips was editor of the senior yearbook.

Krips is survived by his parents and two sisters. He was laid to rest at 6:30 P.M. Sunday.

Captain Shai Bernstein, 24, from Be'er Sheva
Shai Bernstein, killed in an IDF operation in south Lebanon on Saturday, was the youngest of his siblings.

His family said that he had recently proposed to his girlfriend of six years, Sivan.

Bernstein graduated from the technical high school in Be'er Sheva, and was enrolled in a pilots course for six months, but then decided that he wanted to be a combat soldier, quit the course, and joined the Armored Corps. He later completed an officers course.

"He was my younger brother, but I admired him as an adult figure," his brother said about him.

Avital Gefen, Bernstein sister, said she had spoken to him on Friday and he had asked her to reassure his mother. "He loved his nephews, and even though he was a company commander, he played with them like a kid," she said.

Bernstein is survived by his parents, Ella and Shlomo, two brothers and a sister.

Staff Sergeat Aharon Yechezkel, 32, from Kfar Yedidya
Friends and family arrived at the Yechezkel residence in Kfar Yedidya on Saturday afternoon to mourn Staff Sergeat Aharon Yechezkel. Everyone who knew him said he was good-hearted and kind to those around him.

His uncle, Mordechai Yechezkel, said he had been very concerned ever since Aharon was sent to Lebanon three weeks ago.

"I talked to him during the week, and I was very worried about him. 'You are very tall and you have to hide so as not to stick out, so stay low,' I said to him. He told me that he wasn't scared, and that he hoped to attack terrorists and return safely," Mordechai said.

Yechezkel is survived by his parents and two sisters. He was laid to rest at 5 P.M. Sunday.

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