IDF servicemen Omri Tal, Liran Adir (Edry), Liel Gidoni and Benaya Sarel were laid to rest on Sunday as the IDF withdrew most of its forces from the Gaza Strip.
Sarel, 26, a resident of the Kiryat Arba settlement, was buried in Hebron just after midnight on Saturday evening. A major in the Givati Brigade, he was due to marry within a month.
He told reporters he had not purchased a suit for his upcoming nuptials and that his future wife, herself a former IDF servicewoman, was taking care of the wedding plans.
“My wife is making all the arrangements. She ran the office of a Givati Brigade commander, so she supports and understands the importance of the mission,” he said in an interview with embedded journalists last week.
“You were the pride of life of every Jewish mother,” Sarel’s mother said at his funeral, according to a report on the Jerusalem Online website.
“You were wise, happy, unique, smart, brave and a hero. You always knew what you wanted and where you were going and it was hard to argue with you. All of the different people who came to mourn with us on Friday reminded us who you are – there was no one you met whom you did not touch, and especially [his fiancée] Gali, whom we also love so much and I promise you we will take care of her just as you requested.”
Both his parents, who are reported to be among the founders of Kiryat Arba, and his fiancée, recalled speaking with Sarel shortly before his death.
“I want to say thank you for the best three years of my life. Thank you for your truth, thank you for coming into my life and teaching me so much. Thank you for your infinite love, your laughter, and your eyes that will accompany me throughout my life,” his fiancée was quoted as saying.
Gidoni, a 20-year-old from Jerusalem, died in the same incident as Sarel, when a Hamas terrorist detonated himself among a group of soldiers on Friday morning.
Gidoni, a staff-sergeant, was laid to rest on Sunday afternoon at Mount Herzl military cemetery.
He was “an amazing and incredible boy – just a boy. He was always smiling. That was the biggest word. Simply smiling,” Zion, Gidoni’s brother, told Channel 2. “This entire situation, this entire condition, if he were here he would probably be smiling.”
He is survived by his parents and three siblings.
Adir, 31, from Ezuz in the Negev, served as a squad commander for reconnaissance fighters in 2004- 2005, and reached the rank of captain. He was married a month ago to his longtime girlfriend, Slayit.
Killed by a mortar shell on the Israeli side of the border on Thursday, e was laid to rest Sunday afternoon in Netanya.
“How can we say goodbye to you like this, after all our long conversations and the help you have given me. I am so proud of you because you are a hero and will always be a hero,” Adir’s cousin wrote on his Facebook page.
Tal, 22, from Yehud was killed in the same incident and was buried in his hometown on Sunday at the same time as Adir. Tal’s father, Yoram, eulogized him on Friday, calling him a “beautiful boy” who was “like a movie star.”
“I lost my dear son and I loved him with all my soul, but life will go on and I choose life and we will go on as a family, as a society and as a nation,” his father said, choking back tears.
Tal, a captain, was laid to rest to the sounds of what was to be his wedding song, Ynet reported.
“Remember that I love you forever,” Tal’s girlfriend, Liat Zimmerman, said at the funeral.
Thousands, including wounded comrades, accompanied Tal to his final resting place. His mother Esther eulogized him on Sunday as an “angel” who “excelled in kindness” and was humble. She said he loved the sea and that he was always curious and in search of knowledge.