'Hero of Israel': IDF soldier killed in Gaza Lt.-Col. M. laid to rest

He was killed by Hamas members on Sunday night.

Mount Herzl Miltary Cemetary (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Mount Herzl Miltary Cemetary
Lieutenant-Colonel M., killed in a firefight between an IDF mission and Hamas terrorists in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday night, was laid to rest on Monday.
A member of Lt.-Col. M.'s community said during the funeral that his father "was an officer of the highest quality who was raised in the glory of the State of Israel. He volunteered in organizations and raised his children on values ​​of love for the homeland, charity and volunteerism," Channel 2 reported.
"Not everyone knew what he was doing but I knew," said his son. "He began to think about the future, about progress in the security and civilian systems. Alternatively, he also considered progress in the military system."
President Reuven Rivlin attended the funeral and paid tribute to M., with tears in his eyes.
“Your pain is our pain, your grief is our grief," Rivlin said at the funeral. "The grief of the whole people, the whole people of Israel. M was one of the bravest and most daring soldiers and commanders of the State of Israel and he fell defending the citizens of Israel, the children of Israel."
An IDF spokesperson eulogized M. in a statement.
"Lieutenant-Colonel M. was a courageous fighter and a dedicated commander who fulfilled all his duties," the statement said. "During the operation yesterday, Lt.-Col. M. showed a spirit of combat, initiative, courage and courage under fire to ensure the security of the force before his personal safety."
"M. demonstrated resourcefulness and determination to defend the security of the State of Israel and its inhabitants," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit stated.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) memorialized M. as a "hero of Israel," Maariv reported.
Turning to M.'s wife and children, Bennett told them, "Your father was a hero of Israel whose death allowed many others to live. Your personal bereavement is a bleeding wound in the heart of the entire nation."
The death of Lt.-Col. M. marks the first time an Israeli officer was killed since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, when Lt.-Col. Dolev Keidar was killed in combat.
Another Israel soldier who was evacuated to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba is considered stable with moderate injuries, the IDF said.
Uri Bollag contributed to this report.