Har Lev
Har LevDavid Avioz, medical photography, Barzilai Spokesman

The family of the late Lt. Col. Dr. Avi Harlev, who was shot dead in the Lahav forest last week not far from his home, released a statement this evening.

Har-Lev had suffered a fatal gunshot wound, and was found in his IDF uniform, following a meeting with his reserve unit.

The family said: "We reject the unfounded rumors about the circumstances of my father's death that have been prevalent since his death. We were convinced from the first moment that my father was murdered."

They continued: "Our father's future was ahead of him on all levels.

"He was a very active, vital, and optimistic man, a family man loved by many, and an outstanding physician in the middle of his professional career.

"Only in recent days has my father acted and participated in planning future plans, both in matters concerning the locality, and as part of volunteering for the reserve service he intended to continue, as he agreed with the brigade commander a few hours before his death - and as the brigadier general told my father at the military funeral.

"We call on the Israel Police to thoroughly examine all directions of the investigation, including the possibility of a nationalist incident.

"It should be noted that in similar incidents in the past (such as in the murders of the late Rabbi Moshe Talbi and the late Yaron Gispen), the initial impression of the investigators, that it was a suicide, turned out to be incorrect.

"Especially in this case, when my father was on his way from reserve service and wearing IDF uniform, a comprehensive and exhaustive examination is called for."

Har-Lev is survived by his wife, Shulamit, the couple's five children: Ron, Moriya, Lavi, Maor, and Hadar Shira; as well as two grandchildren, his parents, and his brother.

As a medical practitioner, Dr. Har-Lev was a specialist in gynecology and fertility, and served as the administrator of Barziliai Hospital's in vitro fertilization department.

Har-Lev also worked as a medical researcher, publishing more than 45 research papers and contributing to a number of medical books.