On Friday I blogged about the terrorist attack on the border with Egypt, in which I quoted the news report:
Unconfirmed: One soldier was killed, and 2 seriously injured in the attack
Sadly, that report turned out to be correct. The soldier who was killed was Netanel Yahalomi from Nof Ayalon.
Yahalomi was a hesder yeshiva student who was completing the military segment of his service in the Artillery Corps. Military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich stated that Yahalomi was shot in the head and later succumbed to his wounds. Yahalomi, a private, was posthumously promoted to corporal.
Yahalomi sister Avital said Yahalomi had insisted on serving in a combat unit, despite a lowered profile because of his poor eyesight. “He fought for us all,” she said. He was a young man who wanted to give his utmost to his country, she said, “and who only sought justice.”
There are more details at Ynet:
The family of Corporal Netanel Yahalomi, who was killed in a terror attack on the Israel- Egypt border Friday afternoon, lives in the religious community of Nof Ayalon. The family members received the tragic news several hours before Shabbat, when the community rabbi and IDF representatives arrived at their house.
“Netanel was born in Bnei Brak, and then we moved to Nof Ayalon,” said his father, Shmuel Yahalomi. “He was a Torah student at the Mitzpe Yeriho Yeshiva. “He insisted on serving in a combat unit and joined the Artillery Corps, where I also served.”
The father added that Netanel used to study Torah even during his vacations.
Corporal Yahalomi was survived by his parents and five siblings. His family spoke of an uncompromising person who fought for justice. “He was a smart and successful guy, and helped everyone in whichever way he could.”
What a tragic loss for his family and for the entire nation. May the family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion, and may the memory of Netanel HY’D be for a blessing for all of Am Yisrael.
יהי זכרו ברוך
On a slightly personal note, Netanel’s father Rav Shmuel is a teacher in our local primary school. I never had the honour of meeting him but he taught my nephew.
Even closer to home, the soldier who was injured in the same incident turns out to be a local boy from Petach Tikva, a friend of my daughter and her age-group in their youth group. The kids are all in shock. It’s always different when you know the victim personally. We have a photo at home of this soldier together with my daughter and some other children, at my sister’s play-group when they were 2 years old.
Thank G-d the soldier is recuperating well and is expected to make a good recovery. However, prayers don’t hurt, so please keep מתתיהו משה בן לאה (Mattityahu Moshe ben Leah) in your prayers.
A poignant aspect of this terrible incident, yet with great implications for the IDF, is the fact that the terrorists attacked while the soldiers were distracted by giving water to refugees who had been turned back at the border.
Soldiers sent to confront asylum-seekers trying to enter Israel from Egypt have been told to take extra steps to protect themselves following the shooting death of a soldier on the border Friday, Israel Radio reported on Sunday.
Netanel Yahalomi, 20, was killed by terrorists in Sinai as he approached the fence to hand African migrants water as they were stopped at the border.
There is growing concern in the Israel Defense Forces that terrorists will try to take advantage of the presence of asylum-seekers on the border to attack IDF soldiers.
In recent months Israel has stepped up its efforts to prevent African migrants from crossing the porous border with Egypt. Migrants stopped at the border have sometimes become trapped, denied entry to Israel and unable to return immediately to Egypt.
Security officials believe terrorists will again try to take advantage of the close proximity of soldiers to the fence to launch attacks, when IDF soldiers bring essential supplies to the migrants.
How typical of the outrageously cowardly terrorists to use a humanitarian gesture by the IDF to murder those same humane IDF soldiers.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai goes as far as to demand that the IDF ban soldiers from any contact with migrants at the border:
The IDF must immediately ban all contact between IDF soldiers and African ‘infiltrators’, which poses a threat to their lives, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Sunday.
“The IDF must put forward a procedure that bans contact with infiltrators – the life of an IDF soldier is not cheap,” Yishai said, before drawing a comparison between the ban and one which restricts IDF soldiers from hitchhiking.
On Friday, it was reported that 20-year-old IDF Corporal Natanel Yahalomi was shot and killed by terrorists in the Sinai peninsula after he and other soldiers had left a fortified position to give water to a group of migrants on the Egypt-Israel border.
“The cries of human rights organizations are preferable to the cries of bereaved families,” Yishai said.
Sadly, the IDF Chief of Staff is pessimistic about quiet returning to the border once the fence is completed.
Even when the Israeli-Egyptian border is fully sealed, the threat of infiltrations will continue, IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said Sunday.
While touring the southern border — where an Israeli soldier was gunned down Friday by terrorists, three of whom were killed — Gantz said that despite the “tremendous efforts” made to close the border, it will continue to present a challenge to Israel.
About 200 kilometers of a 240-km. stretch of fencing has been constructed in an accelerated project. The remaining 40 or so km. — in the Har Harif area where Netanel Yahalomi was killed on Friday, and in a stretch near Eilat — is set to be completed by the end of the year or early 2013, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee was told recently.
It looks like it’s very convenient for Egypt to have so much terrorist activity down on the border. It gives them an excuse to increase the number of their troops in the Sinai way above the amount mandated by the peace treaty with Israel. I wonder if they’ll be able to ride the terrorist tiger if (or when) it turns on them.