Cap. Yochai Kalangel, 25, and Sgt. Dor Haim Nini, 20, killed by a Hezbollah attack.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
The officer and soldier killed in the Hezbollah attack on the Lebanese border Wednesday were named as Maj. Yohai Kalangel, 25, of Har Gilo, a company commander in the Givati Brigade, and St.-Sgt. Dor Haim Nini, 20, from Shtulim.
Both lost their lives when antitank missiles struck the IDF vehicle they were riding in and another in the same patrol.
Seven other soldiers were lightly- to-moderately wounded in the attack and were recovering in hospitals in the North.
Kalangel grew up in the West Bank settlement of Elazar in Gush Etzion, and leaves behind a wife, Tali, and their one-year-old child. He is one of six siblings, and on Independence Day this year he was awarded a General Staff commendation for excellence.
Tamir, Yochai’s brother, told reporters that Yochai, or “Joha” as the family knew him, “was a giant of a man, salt of the earth, a great warrior.”
A former high school teacher of Kalangel’s, Na’ama Tal Cohen-Landau, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he was a challenging, at times rebellious student, but one beloved by his friends.
“It was clear to any who met him, including myself, that he would go a long way,” she said.
The head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, David Pearl, referred to Kalangel on Wednesday as “a real hero and a wonderful family man.”
On Wednesday night, Aviel Nini, Dor’s brother, said he had spoken to Dor on Tuesday night, after he arrived in the North. Aviel said his brother spoke to his girlfriend at 9:30 a.m. and told her “Don’t worry, I’m coming back later today.”
“My little brother is a hero, a fighter who loved the army. He was never afraid of anything, was always smiling,” he added.
Limor Avizard, Nini’s cousin, said that Dor “was a king, an Israeli hero. He got through Operation Protective Edge bravely. Any time we would call him, he would say, ‘Don’t worry, everything’s okay. It’s no big deal.’” Dror Shor, the head of the Be’er Tuviya Regional Council where Shtulim is located, said Nini’s family was one of the oldest in the moshav and that the death of Dor, “a wonderful boy,” is “a disaster which is hard to describe.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I would like to send condolences to the families of the fallen and my best wishes for a full recovery to our wounded soldiers.”