'He was a genius, a leader, and a ground-breaker'

Barzilai Hospital eulogizes Dr. Avi Har-Lev, after he was found killed by a gunshot wound in a forest near his home in Judea.

Shlomo Witty ,

ד"ר אבי הרלב
ד"ר אבי הרלב
צילום: דוד אביעוז, צילום רפואי, דוברות ברזילי

The Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon was shocked by the death of Dr. Avi Har-Lev, 50, director of the IVF department, who was found lifeless in a forest near the village of Sansana in the Mount Hevron Regional Council.

Barzilai said that Har-Lev stood out as a well-liked individual with a generous heart and a captivating personality that impressed everyone who knew him, staff members and patients alike. Dr. Har-Lev gave dedicated all his efforts to his colleagues and patients, and everyone who met him could not help but be impressed by his charm and demeanour.

Dr. Har-Lev, a lieutenant colonel on reserve duty, excelled in his field and was considered a prodigy, leader and pioneer; a renowned expert in gynecology and fertility; he was one of the founders of the International Society for Repetitive Pregnancy Loss, was heavily involved in research, academia and the training of interns and students.

The hospital also said that Har-Lev had published dozens of significant scientific articles, been involved in writing and editing medical books, and led the IVF department in Barzilai to unprecedented achievements. He was behind many innovations at the medical center, such as egg donations, fertility preservation, and genetic testing for embryos.

''Barzilai employees are shocked and hurt, and send warm condolences to his family, his many patients, and all his acquaintances. May his memory be a blessing," the hospital added.

Rabbi Itai Cohen, head of the Dorot Institute who worked with Dr. Har-Lev, said: "We were privileged to work together collaboratively. There is much to be said about his sensitivity and genius in devising and administering fertility treatments.'"

Avi returned last night from a meeting in his reserve unit, still in uniform. Police have launched an investigation into the circumstances of the death, in cooperation with the IDF Military Police. Hevron governor Yochai Damari delivered the sad tidings to the family late last night, along with the chief Rabbi of the city and a number of first responders.

Avi leaves behind his wife Shulamit, the sister of the late Col. Dror Weinberg, five children - Ron, Moriya, Lavie, Maor and Hadar Shira - two sons-in-law, two granddaughters, his parents, and a brother.

Avi Har-Lev was a specialist in gynecology and fertility and ran the IVF department at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Har-Lev was involved in research and academia. To date, he has published more than 45 articles and has been involved in writing and editing multiple medical works.

Hevron governor Yochai Damari commented: "It was with great anguish that we heard the news of the death of Dr. Avi Har-Lev. Avi was a man of considerable repute and a family man as well - a devoted father and grandfather, a well-known and respected figure among his friends and the thousands of patients to whom he devoted his entire life. The Harlev family is a venerable one, and one of the founders of the Sansana community. Along with his dedicated work as the director of the IVF department, Avi insisted on continuing his active reserve service for many years and serving as a leader of many community affairs. This is a great loss. We spent last night in the company of his family and the first responders at the scene. I advise the police to thoroughly investigate the possibility that this was a nationalist crime; the forest is a common haunt of illegal immigrants and it is entirely possible one of them noticed a soldier in uniform and decided to attack him."

On Israel's last Remembrance Day, Har-Lev wrote on Arutz Sheva about his experiences in Lebanon and the responsibility of commanders d under fire, which he learned firsthand from Dror Weinberg.