The late Corporal Hillel Nehemiah Ofen, who collapsed and died during military training in the Kola forest near Elad, made his final journey after being laid to rest Tuesday evening in the military cemetery on Mount Herzl.
"How do you eulogize a son?" said his mother. "My dear and beloved son. Your face is the face of an angel, how cute. You loved peace and pursued peace," she cried sadly.
"Your birth was a miracle, everything was quick and then I woke up and saw your beautiful face for the first time. Since then, you have been with us for over 20 and a half years, we had a complete and wonderful Shabbat together and now we have no miracle again."
Later, his brother and sister paid tribute to Hillel. Shmeya, his brother, said: "Look how many people came to accompany you, last Friday we came to [our parents] for Shabbat, it hurt me that you closed Shabbat. I tried to call but you were not available. I could not imagine that the next time would be when I say goodbye to you. I wanted to hear your voice. It is good for you, to be filled with satisfaction in my successful brother.
"You are so pure, such a good heart. You are my first brother, I have so many things to say about you - you went so young. Now you are near God, pray for us, for all the brothers. I love you very much, my dear brother."
His sister, Dina, also paid tribute to him: "I can't describe how good a brother you were, how busy you were, I would call you to help me with math - you continued to be calm and be easy on me. As much as we were different, it only strengthened the bond between us. We knew how to balance each other. I think and try to summarize experiences and stories. Family was the most important thing in the world. I know there is no brother like you, who comes home tired and still cares so much to spend time with his sister."
Army members reflect on their fallen friend
The commander of the Yahalom unit, Col. A., told about the late Ofen that "he was a smiling man with a rolling laugh and joy of life, radiating light and optimism around him. was a warrior. His physical abilities were among the highest in the company, in his special way he swept the company after him. From all of them emerges the image of an impressive guy, a fighter, a good friend, humane and valuable."
Ofen, from the village of Karmi Tzur, was 20 years old at the time of his death and served as a fighter in the Yahalom unit (an elite unit of the engineering corps). He was promoted from private to corporal posthumously. He apparently died after losing consciousness as a result of dehydration and heat stress under the cover of the prevailing heat. Medical teams that arrived at the scene performed CPR on the fighter, at the end of which he was pronounced dead.
The late Ofen, who was in the training stages, enlisted in March 2023 for about five months in the IDF and was destined to join the bomb disposal unit at the end of the training.
Ofen Zal was in the process of training for the first stages of a course designed to develop skills in an open field, foot movements, and crawling. During crawling, a team commander noticed him lying on the floor in a complex medical condition and called a medical team, after which the unit's paramedic was called in and gave him medical treatment.
An MDA team and a 669 helicopter treated the fighter, but despite resuscitation efforts, a 669 doctor pronounced him dead in the field.
The IDF did not know his medical background.