Ilai Tzair
Ilai TzairCourtesy of the family

Sergeant Ilai Tzair from Kedar, a commando soldier, fell in southern Gaza.

The town of Kedar, located near Maaleh Adumim, announced his death with great sorrow.

Rabbi Barak Okebi, head of the Maoz mechina (pre-military academy) in Lod, told Arutz Sheva - Israel National News that Ilai was "simply Adino Haetzni," and came from "a special family of righteous converts, he was truly a pure soul, a gentle soul and a bold warrior, beloved by us all, uniquely beloved by every person, a Torah learner, who loved the Torah, who went out to fight with the strength of the Torah and the strength of the great love of Israel that he had."

Adino Haetzni was the head of the Sanhedrin in ancient Israel, and one of King David's main warriors.

"He was a great student - just a great student. The nation of Israel truly merited a great warrior, from the ranks of King David, a soldier in the Egoz Unit. He was so happy that he had come there and at every opportunity he had, he would come to the mechina - such as on Fridays before he went home - and he would manage to learn more with his teachers. He went out with the strength of the Torah, to fight for the renewal of Israel - a pure soul."

The Gush Etzion Regional Council spokesman responded "With deep sadness, the Gush Etzion Regional Council announces the death of IDF Sergeant Ilai Tzair HY”D, a resident of Kedar, Gush Etzion, who fell in battle in southern Gaza. He is the son of Yaffa and Erez, and brother of Shiloh, Yael, and Navo. Ilai studied in a Ma’ale Adumim yeshiva high school."

"His friends and family described him as 'quiet and modest' and 'the first to help others and replete with good qualities.' He loved Israel, and hiking throughout the country.

"The Council's staff, together with the Mayor, Yaron Rosenthal, are supporting the family at this difficult time."

Funeral and shiva (mourning) details have not yet been announced.

Gush Etzion Regional Council head Yaron Rosenthal eulogized Ilai, saying, "We have lost a brave warrior and a man of values and modesty. My condolences to the dear family and to every household in Kedar."

"Ilai, Gush Etzion salutes you and thanks you for your great dedication and sacrifice on our behalf, so we can continue to live in this land. May your memory be for a blessing."