'Avshalom Armoni was the soul of the Yeshiva'

Friends remember Lieutenant Avshalon Armoni as full of life, a dedicated Torah scholar, and an excellent commander.

Tzvi Lev,

Avshalom Armoni and Avinoam Cohen
Avshalom Armoni and Avinoam Cohen
Flash 90

Lieutenant Avshalom Armoni was killed Wednesday morning along with Sergeant Avinoam Cohen when his self-propelled howitzer cannon flipped over during a training exercise. The news stunned his friends, who described Armoni as a superb commander, and the life of the Otniel Yeshiva where he studied for four years.

"Everyone knew him in Otniel," related Itai Yisrael, who studied with Armoni during his years in Otniel. "Even the younger guys in the yeshiva loved him, who generally do not know the older guys so well. It's possible to say that he was the soul of the yeshiva; he was never seen without a smile on his face and he always seemed to be laughing about something."

"He was always smiling, always joking around. He always tried to make everyone else feel better" said Orr Keller.

The IDF had agreed to permit Armoni to take an eight-month break before starting officer's course to enable Armoni to study Torah, only to call him back after four months. Armoni fought with the army in order to stay in Yeshiva, something his friends say was not out of character, as his love for Torah study was well known.

"We would see him poring over the Talmud at all hours of the night" recalled a friend who wished to remain unnamed. "I would ask him why he didn't go to sleep, and he would smile and tell me that he hadn't yet finished his daily quota of Torah learning."

Lawrence Katz served with Armoni in the Artillery Corps and described Armoni as "an amazing soldier", who always gave the most effort he could. "During the long marches he would carry the heavy water bottles without complaining," remembered Katz. "All of the commanders loved him and he added tremendously to our squad."