Rabbi Barak Okvi, a friend of fallen YAMAM operator Noam Raz and head of the Lod premilitary academy, eulogized Noam after he was killed during a gunfight with armed militants in the Jenin area.
"The people of Israel have lost one of their heroes. This is not another soldier - though all of them are dearly beloved - but a man who was entirely dedicated to the people of Israel, spending twenty-three years fighting for the people and state of Israel, who have now lost both a heroic warrior and an exemplary family man."
"He loved his children and would dream about them. Every Saturday he would come home as if he had never put on a uniform, only to disappear in the middle of Shabbat. He would return the next Shabbat, taking off his uniform once again, and apologize that he could not tell us about this sort of thing in advance. Noam was a humble and modest man, he never complained or spoke ill about anyone, only good - that's what interested him."
"I heard about it and did not dare to think the worst, and then I was informed, that apparently Noam was fatally wounded during a protracted operation. Noam was one of our greatest combat operatives. He risked his life day and night. Our people should be strong, because Noam was. He was never confused for a moment with all the weaknesses and all the complications that exist in the country. He always saw how good can be done. May his memory be blessed."
Raz, 47, who was married and the father of six, was injured on Friday in a joint-force operation in the Jenin area, reportedly to prevent imminent terrorist activity.
Terrorists who arrived at the scene opened fire on the security forces, and Noam was seriously injured. He was evacuated to hospital care by helicopter and pronounced dead a short while later. At the end of hours of exchange of fire, the security forces arrested the terrorist who had taken shelter in the house they were besieging.