The Six Who Were Killed, and Eitam´s Eulogy

, | updated: 16:52

The six soldiers killed yesterday were all fighters of the Givati Brigade, which received a special citation this past Independence Day. They were:

* Sgt. Ofer Jerbi, 21, from Moshav Ben-Zakkai, the commander of the crew that was killed. His mother Tzippy said that as soon as she heard that there were casualties in Gaza, she began crying that her son had been killed - a half-hour before she received the notification. "Just like everyone else, I fight hard to go out on as many missions as possible," Ofer told a Maariv reporter last month.

* Sgt. Idron Amar, 20, from Eilat. His unique name came from the fact that he was born in the month of Adar (February-March). A top student, he volunteered several hours a week in communal service, including tutoring in special classes. He was the oldest of four children.

* Sgt. Aviad Deri, 19, from Maaleh Adumim - he studied in the Noam Yeshiva High School in Jerusalem, and in the Hemdat pre-military yeshiva academy in the Jordan Valley. Only a few days ago, he came away with only minor injuries from a serious car accident. His father said that Aviad felt that Jews must live all over the Land of Israel: "We [in the army] have to protect the Jews living there. Not one community or outpost should be evacuated."

* Sgt. Eitan Neuman, 21, from Jerusalem - a good friend of Aviad, who studied together with him in Hemdat, and before that in Himmelfarb High School in Bayit V'Gan in Jerusalem. He spent the past Shabbat at home with his family, celebrating the engagement of his older brother.

* Sgt. Kobi Mizrachi, 20, from Moshav Mata, between Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh - the youngest of six children; his father died 13 years ago. "I begged him not to serve in Gaza," his grieving mother said - but his dream was to serve in the Givati combat brigade. "He was appointed class commander," his brother said, "but he was so modest that we only found out about it now."

* Sgt. Yaakov Marvitza, 25, from Kibbutz HaMapil, northeast of Netanya - a "lone soldier" who immigrated to Israel from Serbia two years ago; his mother and sister still live in Serbia. He very much wanted to become "Israeli," and to this end, enlisted in the army, with the goal of becoming an officer.

The IDF Chief Rabbinate has decided that funerals for the six will not be held until the troops have exhausted their search for additional body parts.

IDF Brig.-Gen. (res.) Housing Minister Effie Eitam, leader of the National Religious Party, served as commander of the Givati Brigade. "I was privileged to serve as the commander of this special brigade," he wrote in Maariv today, "and when I received word as to what had happened, the words 'IDF' and 'fight against terror' were replaced in my mind with the pictures of young faces and purple berets...
"This war, brought to us by suicide murderers and corpse-traders, is not just a war for our individual lives. It is a war for our way of life, for our right to maintain Israel as a Jewish state and a free and democratic society. Our steadfast persistence has a tremendous power, one that builds up to a national statement that is much more than the number of days and dead, one that stands before the world and says, 'You will not move us from here.'
"There are those who tire of this long and arduous trek, and seek mirages of water and shade along the way. These are mirages that appear attractive to those who are impatient and for whom the way is long. But we, the People of Eternity, do not fear a long journey. For so many years have Jews whispered this dream, passing it through the generations from father to son. We are the ones to have merited making this dream a reality, and this national structure stands strong, solid and true - the solution to all the riddles, the answer to all the question marks..."


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