Friday was a sad day for the residents of the National Religious community of Nof Ayalon in central Israel, a suburb of Kibbutz Shaalvim, where IDF soldier Netanel Yahalomi, Hy"d (may G-d avenge his blood), who fell in a terror attack near the border with Egypt, had resided.
Yahalomi’s family, who was struggling to digest the news of his death, told Channel 10 News before Shabbat that Netanel was an outstanding soldier who loved serving in the IDF more than anything.
Netanel studied at the Mitzpe Yericho yeshiva high school and then at the hesder yeshiva located in Maalot in northern Israel. The Religious Zionist hesder yeshiva network program combines intensive Torah study with IDF service. His family said that he studied Torah every moment he could.
“Netanel was supposed to come home for Sukkot," said his sister, Avital Yahalomi. “We were waiting for this holiday. Dad was also supposed to celebrate his birthday at that time. It hurts so much that G-d took him precisely at this time of the holidays.”
She recalled her brother’s dedication to his military service, saying, “He was assigned to the artillery but fought so he can serve in a combat unit. He wanted to be in the infantry, wanted to contribute to his country as much as possible.”
“He refused to tell us where exactly he was serving,” she added. “He kept it a secret, he was a model soldier. We are still in great shock.”
According to testimonies published by Channel 10, Yahalomi and the soldier who was with him and who was wounded in the attack saw the terrorists and returned fire, but Netanel was hit by bullets and died on the spot.
The report also added that Yahalomi was part of an artillery unit whose job is to provide security for workers who are completing the fence along the border with Egypt. The terrorists took advantage of the fact that some of the soldiers had brought water to African infiltrators who were near the fence and opened fire.
Israel and Egypt have reportedly agreed to jointly investigate Friday’s terror attack. The Egyptian newspaper Masrawy reported that a delegation of senior Egyptian military officials would meet with IDF officers to learn the details of the attack.
In addition, the newspaper reported that Egypt has asked Israel to turn over the bodies of the three terrorists who were killed in the attack, so that it can determine their identity and to which organization they belonged.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)