Salman Habaka
Salman HabakaPortal Karmel

Arin, the widow of hero Lt. Col. Salman Habaka, 33, who saved civilians in the battle for Kibbutz Be'eri and fell Thursday while fighting Hamas in Gaza, has asked that as many Jews as possible attend her husband's funeral.

Habaka is a Druze Israeli, and he is the highest-ranking officer to be killed since the beginning of the IDF's ground operation. Commander of 188th Armored Brigade's 53rd Battalion, Habaka was from Yanuh-Jat and the father of a two-year-old son.

Ahead of his funeral, Arin asked that as many Jews as possible, especially from northern Israel, come to pay last respects.

In her request, Arin wrote that her husband had always lived alongside the Jews and fought with them. Therefore, she said it was important to the entire family that the funeral be held before the start of the Jewish Sabbath at sunset on Friday, so that Jews would be able to say an appropriate farewell.

Habaka's funeral will be held on Friday afternoon at 3:30p.m., at the Kapisha-Yanuh cemetery. Prior to that, the coffin will be placed in Beit Ha'am in Yanuh, at 2:30p.m.

On the morning of Simchat Torah, October 7th, the day of Hamas' murderous surprise attack, Salman Habaka received a message about a major incident on the Gaza border. Although his soldiers from the 188th Armored Brigade's 53rd Battalion were in the Hebron area, he moved part of the force to Tze'elim in southern Israel.

The soldiers from the battalion supplied the forces in the field with machine guns, and six of their tanks joined the battles. The crews were distributed between Be'eri, Kfar Aza, and Nahal Oz. An additional force was sent to the Erez border crossing.

In Kibbutz Be'eri, there were fierce and bloody battles throughout the day. Habaka came to Be'eri with two tanks and joined a group of paratroopers. Together with the rest of the forces, they pushed back the Hamas terrorists and decided the battle. The Bithonistim movement said that Habaka's decision to disperse the tanks proved to be a bold and smart decision since his crews pushed back another wave of terrorists that broke through the Erez crossing and killed the terrorists at the border.