The nation grieved as funerals were held for soldiers around the country on Tuesday.
Six soldiers from the Golani Brigade – among the 13 who were killed in Gaza early on Sunday – St.-Sgt. Shachar Tase, 20, from Pardesiya; St.- Sgt. Daniel Pomerantz, 20, from Kfar Azar; Sgt. Shon Mondshine, 19, from Tel Aviv; Sgt. Ben Itzhak Oanounou, 19, from Ashdod; St.-Sgt. Oren Simcha Noach, 22, from Hoshaya; and St.-Sgt. Jordan Bensemhoun, 22, a lone soldier from France who lived in Ashkelon – were among those laid to rest.
The soldiers from Golani’s 13th Battalion died at 1:05 a.m. on Sunday when their armored personnel carrier drove over and detonated an explosive device. The IDF announced the deaths on Sunday, and informed the families, but the soldiers’ names were only released to the public on Tuesday morning.
“My dear son, I miss you so much. It is inconceivable that you are not here... that you are not with me. I want to hug you, to kiss you, to smell your sweet scent,” Heidi Tase, Tase’s mother, wrote on her Facebook page on Monday.
“There are so many things I wanted to do and experience with you. Shachar, I want to tell you that mom loves you and is protecting you... I want you to protect me and your father and your brothers Hen and Omri that also miss you so much.
“You are my hero and I admire you and am so proud of you. Long live your soul bound in the bond of life. You are now in Heaven, Shachar. Sleep my child. Sleep my sweet,” his mother wrote.
Tase’s funeral was held in the military section of the Pardesiya cemetery. He is survived by his parents and two brothers.
Sgt. Shon Mondshine graduated from Ironi Daled High School in Tel Aviv before joining the Golani Brigade.
“He was a beautiful boy also from outside but also from the inside,” his mother told Channel 2 News. “People said, ‘Shon, you are such a smart boy you can go do anything in the army,’ and he replied: ‘My brother was in Golani and I want to be in Golani too,’” his mother said.
Mondshine’s funeral was held in the military section of the Nahalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv.
Friends and family of St.-Sgt. Daniel Pomerantz responded with incredulity at the news of his death. Friend after friend posted messages on the departed soldier’s Facebook page with anecdotes and pictures celebrating his life and expressing despair at his death.
“I met a tremendous person who knew to give a lot and take a little,” Don Haim, a fellow soldier, wrote. “You were my best friend in the army and I cannot imagine my life without you and it is just not registering and I hope that this is only a bad dream that I will wake up from soon.”
Friends described an incredible smile and handsome looks, earning him the nickname “Ashton,” referring to his likeness to American actor Ashton Kutcher.
“You were an incredible boy, salt of the earth, a boy who was always smiling with a personal charm that can’t be described... Even when we were little and you used to tease me, as soon as you flashed your perfect smile all was forgiven. I want to thank you that you watched over us as a hero and as always you were a real fighter and didn’t give up until the end,” Tal Shopen, a childhood friend, wrote.
Details for his funeral have yet to be announced.
Sgt. Ben Itzhak Oanounou attended Amit’s Yud District High School in Ashdod. His teacher of the past three years, Chani Ben-Abu, described him as a friendly student who was always “smiling and who was utterly motivated to serve in the IDF.”
He completed his basic training at the top of his unit.
Oanounou was buried in the military section of the Ashdod cemetery.
During the ceremony, his grandfather asked everyone to salute the fallen soldier. “I salute you, my dearest grandson, I salute you,” he said unable to hold back tears.
Oanounou is survived by his parents and three siblings.
St.-Sgt. Oren Simcha Noach, from Hoshaya in the Western Galilee, attended the Otzem Pre-Military Torah Academy before joining the Golani Brigade.
His family gathered at the community’s synagogue and buried him in the community’s cemetery. They asked that the ceremony be closed to the media.
A memorial page created on Facebook posted photos from the young soldier’s life.
“Oren, the thousands of people who came [to the funeral] demonstrated the mark you left behind in this world. From everywhere in the country, from abroad, all colors of berets from the army, from preparatory school and from life. We love you, we cannot understand, and we most of all miss you,” a message on the page read.
St.-Sgt. Jordan Bensemhoun, 22, made aliya alone from France and volunteered for the Golani Brigade. His friends in Ashkelon called on people from across the country to attend the funeral, and despite the rocket threat and the ban on gatherings of more than 200 people in the city due to the threat from Gaza, thousands of people came to pay their respects to the lone soldier they did not know.
Sgt.-Maj. Oded Ben Sira, 22, from Nir Etzion, was killed on Monday by a sniper in the Gaza Strip. The Nahal Brigade soldier leaves behind a twin sister and four brothers.
On Tuesday, his uncle, Meir Ben Sira, described how he didn’t expect Oded to be in the army or a combat soldier, but that his nephew was inspired by his older brothers who served in front-line units and he fought hard to make it into the Nahal. The war started after Oded had finished his compulsory service, but he volunteered to join the fight with his unit, Meir said. Ben Sira was buried at the Nir Etzion cemetery.
Chief Warrant Officer Bayhesain Kshaun, 39, from Netivot, killed by an anti-tank missile fired by terrorists who had infiltrated Israel on Monday near Kibbutz Nir Am. He was buried in his city on Tuesday night. The infantryman leaves behind a wife who is nine months’ pregnant and three children.
Lt. Yuvel Haiman, 21, of the Paratroop Brigade was buried in his hometown of Efrat on Monday night, a day after he was killed by terrorists who infiltrated Israel and fired an anti-tank missile at the jeep in which he was riding.
The head of the Efrat Local Council, Oded Ravivi, said on Monday that the town “is in deep mourning of the death of Yuvel Haiman, one of our greatest sons. He was from the fourth generation of the builders of Efrat and his family’s roots stretch throughout the history of the people, the land, and the defense of the country.”
St.-Sgt. Max Steinberg, a lone soldier from California who served as a sniper in the Golani Brigade and lived in Beersheba, will buried at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
“We salute this soldier, this son of Israel, who fought with unmatched courage and selflessness in defense of the Jewish state. Max made the ultimate sacrifice and we are forever indebted to him. May his memory be a blessing for our people and serve as an eternal inspiration of valor for all the people of Israel,” Consul-General of Israel in Los Angeles David Siegel said on Tuesday.
Steinberg is survived by his parents and two siblings.