Pitched Battle in Shechem, Terrorist Attack Thwarted
IDF soldiers eliminated an Arab terrorist in Shechem Wednesday, as troops continued their operation launched against a terror cell that was preparing to carry out an attack on Israelis.
The ongoing operation against a joint PFLP/Hamas terror cell which is holed up in the Ein Beit Ilma neighborhood of Shechem, 30 miles north of Jerusalem, began before dawn Tuesday. Brig. Gen. Noam Tibon said the IDF would not let up pressure on the enemy until the threat emanating from the camp is eliminated.
In Tuesday's action, terrorists lobbed explosive charges on the combined Paratroopers Palsar / Haruv force and a firefight developed. Staff Sgt. Ben-Zion Haneman, 22, a Palsar paratrooper, was gravely wounded and another soldier was lightly injured. A helicopter was called in order to evacuate Haneman to the hospital, but he was pronounced dead before the helicopter arrived. The lightly wounded soldier received first aid before being taken to Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikvah.
IDF forces then shot and killed the Arab who had killed Haneman. They also arrested four terrorists, from Hamas and the PFLP.
Ben-Zion was about to end his term of army service yet did not hesitate to place himself at the forefront of the IDF force entering the terrorist neighborhood.
Border Guard Policemen, also taking part in the offensive, opened fire on a group of gunmen that had begun firing on them and identified hits on two enemy terrorists.
An arms cache with two M-16 guns, a few improvised hand grenades and additional ammunition was discovered.
Lately, IDF soldiers have been operating in Shechem on a nightly basis, in order to arrest or kill terrorists, locate explosives laboratories and carry out additional counter-terror activities.
Quiet, with piercing blue eyes
Staff Sgt. Ben-Zion Chaim Haneman, was from the small religious moshav (agricultural community) Nov in the Golan Heights. He was the son of Yaakov and Tamar Haneman. Ben-Zion had nine brothers and sisters.
His funeral took place Tuesday at 11:30 PM in Hispin, near Nov.
Ben-Zion was to end his military service two weeks from now. "He planned to travel overseas immediately after his release from the IDF, and then study agriculture and winemaking and join the family business," his older brother Ro'i told journalists. Ro'i described his brother as a young man with piercing blue eyes, who did not speak much. Brig. Gen. Tibon also noted that Ben-Zion was about to end his term of army service yet did not hesitate to place himself at the forefront of the IDF force entering the terrorist neighborhood.
Ben-Zion was born in Sussia, near Hevron, and his family later moved to Nov, a small religious community with 115 families, including that of Knesset Member Effie Eitam, related by marriage to the Haneman family. "He was a quiet, introverted, pleasant-mannered boy and well liked by all," Nov's secretary Yaakov Nusboim said. "Unfortunately this is a heavy blow to the family and to the entire moshav," he added.
Ben-Zion studied in the Yeshiva L'Tzeirim in Jerusalem, and after finishing high school he studied in the college-age Yeshiva at Mitzpe Ramon for a short time.
Again, a 'knit kippah' soldier
The increasingly central role played by religious soldiers in the IDF's combat units has been the subject of much discussion in Israel lately, after the heroic stories of Maj. Ro'i Klein, Lt. Col. Emanuel Moreno and others in the Second Lebanon War brought home to Israelis that the "knit kippah" boys are replacing the kibbutz and moshav boys of previous generations as the backbone of the fighting units.
"Their presence in the army is several times larger than it is in the general population," journalist Ben Caspit wrote recently. "It is clear," he wrote, that "the religious-Zionist movement's educational institutions continue to disseminate values, Zionism, Judaism and mission orientation." Of the religious soldiers he wrote: "They do everything willingly, with their entire soul."