Hundreds of people on Monday attended the funeral of 20-year-old IDF soldier Shahar Shalev hy''d from Alonei Habashan.
Shalev was badly wounded during Operation Protective Edge and hospitalized at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, where he died of his wounds on Sunday, roughly five weeks after receiving the critical wound. He became the 72nd Israeli to die in the defensive operation.
The IDF soldier was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) in the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis, at the start of the ground operation to locate and destroy Hamas's network of terror tunnels into Israel.
"Ten hours before you went into Gaza, you wrote to our family that you loved us," said Shimon Shalev, eulogizing his son. "Since then we hadn't heard from you, and then six days later when the army informed us that you had been badly hurt, our lives changed.”
For fives weeks, Shimon Shalev said, the family was on alert, and Jews around the world prayed for Shahar's health.
“We asked for blood donations for you and the response was amazing,” he said. “Even after we put word out that we had enough people continued to donate."
“We had five and a half weeks to bid you farewell,” he said. “We spoke to you, sang to you, we told you what was happening at home and in the news. One thing we did not tell you – that we had to amputate your legs, and that three other soldiers were killed in the explosion that eventually took you. And yesterday, when the doctors told us it was all over, we gathered at your bedside to wish you farewell."
Shahar Shalev was raised on the Golan Heights, and attended after-school activities sponsored by the religious Zionist Bnei Akiva movement, becoming a group leader in the movement for four years.
He studied at the Hitzim Yeshiva in Itamar, and later studied at the Arzei Levanon pre-military academy in Shilo. He leaves behind his parents and six siblings, ranging in age from 24 to four years of age.