(photo credit: AP [file])
"It is a battle for life or death." Those were the words with which St.-Sgt. Yehunatan Einhorn, 22, left his parents at their last meeting on Sunday in Haifa.
Two days later, he was killed in Lebanon, along with two other soldiers from his Paratrooper Brigade Unit, including his commander, Lt. Ilan Gabbai, 21, who died at his side.
Just last week, Einhorn, of Moshav Gimzo, had taken part in the fierce fighting at the Hizbullah stronghold of Bint Jbail, in which eight soldiers were killed.
He came away virtually unscathed from that battle, after his eyeglasses and cellular phone had shielded him from shrapnel.
Over the weekend, a photographer captured a shot of Einhorn leading a line of soldiers, as they returned on foot to Israel from their operation in Lebanon.
The image, which was published in Yediot Aharonot on Sunday, would be Einhorn's final picture.
Friends described Einhorn, who is survived by his grandmother, parents and four younger brothers, as a modest young man, who especially loved traveling throughout Israel.
"I know how much you loved to live," Einhorn's mother Revital said in her eulogy as her son was buried Wednesday at Mount Herzl's military cemetery in Jerusalem. Hundreds of Einhorn's friends, family members and comrades-in-arms came to pay their last respects to the paratrooper.
"You fought for the country, you loved the country and you died for the country," she said.
Among the crowd of mourners a sea of red berets - including soldiers wounded in the battle in which Einhorn lost his life - stood out as the paratroopers bade a final farewell to their comrade.
Gabbai was also laid to rest on Wednesday afternoon.