Eight troops from the Golani Brigade's Battalion 51 lost their lives on Wednesday during heavy fighting with Hizbullah operatives in the southern Lebanese village of Bint Jbail. Another officer was killed in a clash at Maroun a-Ras.
Maj. Roi Klein
Ro'i, from Eli, would have been 31 years old on Thursday. He was the deputy commander of Golani's Battalion 51, and was scheduled to be promoted to battalion commander, but began his army service in the brigade's elite Egoz unit.
Six years before Ro'i led his soldiers into the battle at Bint Jbail on Wednesday, when he was killed in an ambush, he had taken part in another IDF offensive the town.
Ro'i is survived by a wife and two young children.
Cpl. Ohad Klausner
Ohad, 20, from Beit Horon, called his parents last Sunday and told them he was going into Lebanon. The family tried to reach Ohad by telephone after they heard about Wednesday's hard-fought battle in Bint Jbail, but got no answer. IDF representatives arrived with the tragic news that evening.
"Already last night I felt something bad was happening," Ohad's mother said Wednesday.
Ohad is survived by his parents, a sister and a brother.
Lt. Alex Schwarzman
Alex, 23, from Acre, had already registered for studies at Haifa University. "Alex always took care of his mother and grandmother," friends said Wednesday.
Alex immigrated to Israel with his mother at the age of eight from Ukraine. Friends said he was dedicated to his family and did everything possible to take care of his mother and grandmother.
A deputy company commander, Alex loved the army and planned to continue serving as a career officer.
Alex is survived by his mother and sister.
Lt. Amihai Merhavia
Amihai, 24, from Eli, was the Golani platoon commander.
Amihai wanted to follow in the footsteps of his friend, Shmuel Weiss, who was killed in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.
On Wednesday morning Amihai's father, Moshe, returned home from reserve duty and learned that his son had been killed in battle.
"He was a fighter, a dreamer, and a believer - and a lover of Eretz Yisrael. Amihai knew very well what he was fighting for," Moshe told Army Radio on Thursday morning.
Amihai is survived by his parents and nine brothers.
St.-Sgt. Shimon Dahan
Shimon, 20, from Ashdod, "was crazy about the army," Shimon's friends said Wednesday. "He even had laser surgery done on his eyes before he was drafted so he could serve in a combat unit."
"I talked to him on Saturday and I had a bad feeling that something was going to happen," Shimon's mother, Yafa Dahan, said.
On Wednesday, Shimon's older brother Meir - serving in reserve duty, also in the Golani Brigade - heard the news of his brother's death and returned home from his unit.
Shimon is survived by his parents and four brothers.
Cpl. Asaf Namer
Assaf, 27, from Kiryat Yam was born in Israel and moved to Australia with his mother at the age of 10. Two and a half years ago he returned to Israel to fulfill his dream of serving as a combat soldier in the Israeli army.
On Wednesday the mayor of Kiryat Ata, Yaakov Peretz, who knew Asaf personally, visited the family at their home.
Asaf had a month left to finish his two-year army service.
He is survived by his parents and a sister.
St.-Sgt. Idan Cohen
Idan, 21, from Jaffa, told only his father that he was in Lebanon. "He didn't want his mother to worry," Cohen's friends said Wednesday. "He was supposed to finish his service in two months and go on a trip to South America."
Idan is survived by his parents and two sisters.
Sgt. Shimon Agada
Shimon, 20, from Kiryat Gat, was assigned to non-combat service because of medical problems. But he refused to give up on his dream and insisted on serving in the Golani brigade. "He was drafted as a 'jobnik' (non-combat soldier), but his dream was to be a fighter. In the end he got what he wanted," Shimon's brother Gil said.
Shimon is survived by his parents, five brothers and two sisters.
Lt. Yiftach Schreier
Yiftach, 21, from Haifa was a Paratrooper officer. He was killed Wednesday outside the village of Maroun a-Ras.