Maj. Klein (pictured), the Deputy Commander of Golani Brigade 51, was killed on Wednesday while leading his soldiers in an attempt to take over the Hizbullah stronghold of Bint Jbeil in southern Lebanon. A massive Hizbullah ambush killed him and seven other soldiers; the evacuation of the dead and wounded took hours because of the ongoing onslaught of anti-tank missiles and other heavy gunfire.
Klein, who grew up in Raanana and later studied in the pre-military yeshiva academy in Eli, lived with his wife Sarah and two small sons - Gilad (3) and Yoav (1.5) - in the Yovel neighborhood of Eli. The family lives in one of the dozen permanent homes in Yovel, just north of Shilo.
Nearly a year ago, Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman reports, Peace Now appealed to the Supreme Court with a demand that the Civil Administration destroy the 12 homes, claiming they were built "without a permit on land that is partially Arab-owned." The organization's website does not elaborate what it means by "partially." The Civil Administration has, in fact, issued demolition orders.
A similar court suit by Peace Now last year led to the violent demolition of nine homes in Amona, just outside Ofrah, this past January. Hundreds of protestors were injured in the ensuing clash with police.
Another of the eight victims in Wednesday's battle in Lebanon was Capt. Amichai Merhavya, 24, also of Eli. The second of ten children, his full name was Yaakov Shimshon Amichai - an acronym for Yesha (Judea and Samaria), as appropriate for his father's long-time work in the Gush Emunim settlement organization. Amichai's father Moshe, who was on reserve duty himself when he heard the bitter news, told Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine, "G-d be blessed, I merited to have two sons fighting during these difficult hours. One of them in Golani, Amichai who just fell, and the second one is fighting in Gaza in the Givati Brigade. We are at war and we must all be strong... Amichai believed in what he did, Amichai well knew what he was fighting for, he did not hesitate. This is how he also trained and taught his soldiers - he was a platoon commander - whom he so loved." Moshe said that his son was the embodiment of "simplicity and good-heartedness... a person who always sought the truth. He also loved the Land of Israel, and hiked often all over the country."
Just over a year ago, prior to the expulsion of the Jews of Gush Katif and northern Shomron, Amichai - who had studied for two years in Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook - was serving as a young commander. He wrote a personal letter to the Chief of Staff, in which he explained to Lt.-Gen. Halutz why he objected to the expulsion of Jews from their homes in the Land of Israel. His father said Amichai was disappointed at not having been summoned for a talk on the matter. Instead, Halutz wanted to dismiss him from his unit - though in the end, he was merely suspended for several weeks and later returned to his unit, in which framework he fought his last battle.
Among the wounded soldiers in Wednesday's battle were four soldiers from the Hesder Yeshiva in Sderot, and a new immigrant officer from Brazil. The latter lives in an outpost community named Sde Boaz in Gush Etzion. Though he was grazed by a bullet, and though his wife is eight months pregnant, he wishes to rejoin his unit in Lebanon as quickly as possible. His wife's family, residents of Haifa, are currently living with the young family in their hilltop home, taking refuge from the Katyusha rockets in the north.