The stories behind the faces

cow.article (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Yaniv Bar-On As a child, Yaniv Bar-On could recite by heart information on all of Israel's wars. On Wednesday he became a casualty of one. Yaniv's father Asher immigrated from South Africa and his mother came from Canada. The couple then met, fell in love, married and raised their three children. Yaniv came from a family of devoted Zionists, and would not even hear of skipping the army and leaving the country to live a different life abroad, according to his neighbor, Yaakov Schlissel. Yaniv, 20, from Maccabim, was a St.-Sgt. in the Armored Corps. He is survived by his siblings, Eitan, 23, and Hadas, 18. The funeral is set for Sunday at 5 p.m. in Modi'in. Eyal Benin 22-year-old Sgt.-Maj. Eyal Benin, who was called up for reserve duty three weeks ago, should have moved this summer to Jerusalem to study law at the Hebrew University. Eyal's mother was originally reluctant to let him join a combat unit. "She didn't want to let him join, but she understood that it was his dream," said one of his friends, but Eyal was determined to stay with a group of close friends who were all going to be combat soldiers. But the dream and determination were shattered on Wednesday, as Eyal was torn from them in the Hizbullah attack. He was laid to rest on Thursday in the Kiryat Shmuel military cemetery. Alexei Kushnirski St.-Sgt. Alexei Kushnirski, 21 of Ness Ziona, was the commander of the tank that was destroyed just over the Lebanese border Wednesday. His fianc e, Shir Avinoam, said she spoke to him on his cellular phone at 9:03 a.m. Wednesday, minutes before his tank triggered a large explosive device. He told her there was heavy shelling in the area and that he loved her. He was supposed to transfer to an administrative position next Sunday, and was scheduled to complete his army service in November. Alexei is survived by his parents, Iliya and Marina, and a younger sister, Alona. His funeral is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Friday at the Kibbutz Na'an cemetery. Gadi Musayev Dozens of neighbors, friends, and relatives came on Wednesday to the home of the Musayev family in Acre upon hearing the news that their son Gadi, serving in an Armored Corps unit, was missing along with his friends in southern Lebanon. Gadi, an electronics major in Ort Dreski high school in Acre, played for four years with the youth division of Hapoel Acre. "Gadi was the team's basketball king," recalled teacher Ilan Frohman, "a quiet and intelligent boy who loved basketball and couldn't wait to go into the army." Gadi is survived by his parents, Eliezer and Rosa, and his sister Vicki, 22, who recently finished combat duty in Gaza. His funeral will take place at 2:45 p.m. on Friday at the Nahariya military cemetery. Wasim Nazal The army representatives who came to the home of St.-Sgt. Maj. Wasim Nazal, 27, on Wednesday still gave his family a little hope. "Wasim was kidnapped by Hizbullah," IDF representatives told the family. "The working assumption is that he's still alive." Only after several long hours did the mistake become clear: Wasim was killed during the battle with Hizbullah, and the nerve-wracking drama ended in tragedy. Wasim served as an ambulance driver for part of his eight-year IDF service. He was laid to rest in his home village of Yanuh-Jat on Thursday. He leaves behind a two-year-old son. Shani Turgeman The middle child of parents who immigrated from Morocco in the 1960s, Sgt.-Maj. Shani Turgeman, 24, showed an interest in graphic art as a teen and worked for a local newspaper. He had begun studying the subject at Sivan college following his return four months ago from a post-army trip to South America. Instead of welcoming him back from reserve duty, his family spent the day in their Beit She'an home struggling to deal with the sudden loss. Shani is survived by his parents Albert and Marcel, his brother Haim and his younger sister Einav. Shani was buried on Thursday evening in the Beit She'an military cemetery. Shlomi Yermiyahu St.-Sgt. Shlomi Yermiyahu, from Rishon Lezion, was killed only a week after his 20th birthday; he was the oldest of three children. His parents, Dovid and Ruti, heard early in the morning that their son was in the tank that was hit, but weren't sure what had happened to him. After nearly a day of waiting for news, they were informed Wednesday evening that all occupants of the tank were killed in the Hizbullah attack. Shlomi served for two years in the IDF's Armored Corps. His aunt described him as "a sweetheart of a boy. He truly loved the army and enjoyed his service." Shlomi will be laid to rest at 3:15 p.m. on Friday in the Rishon Lezion military cemetery