'Always the first to volunteer’

IDF Lt.-Col.(res.) Dov Harari laid to rest in Netanya funeral.

Dov Harari funeral1 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Dov Harari funeral1 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Several hundred mourners gathered at the Netanya military cemetery on Wednesday, to bid farewell to Lt.-Col. (res.) Dov “Barry” Harari, 45, killed by a Lebanese army sniper a day earlier.
Harari’s flag-draped coffin was carried to the grave by eight lieutenant colonels from a range of IDF battalions, as family and friends cried out in sorrow.
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Throughout the ceremony, relatives fanned and gave water to Harari’s widow, Ronit, who struggled with the stifling midday heat.
Time and again, mourners described Harari as a goodhearted man with a passionate love of the army, who seemed to symbolize the Israeli who relished every opportunity to serve his country.
“You always gave your commanders the feeling that they had someone to count on, your soldiers always followed you, everyone loved you,” said Col.
Yaniv Ashur, commander of Infantry Battalion 920, in which Harari served.
Harari “always saw service as an obligation and was always the first to volunteer” when the call went out for reservists. He described Harari, a father of four, as a man who was larger than life and who “symbolized all that was beautiful about the people of Israel.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement expressing his condolences to Harari’s family and calling him “an outstanding fighter and commander. I also want to send my best wishes for a recovery to Ezra Lakiyeh who was wounded in the events in Lebanon.”
Harari was also eulogized by his soon-to-enlist 18-year-old daughter Noi.
“I can’t believe that I won’t see you anymore; that we won’t hug or kiss you anymore, or that you won’t get to see me or Shir in our uniforms in a few months, that you won’t see us get married. I know that you see everything from heaven, but down here you are missed,” Noi said.
After the service, Yokne’am Illit resident Lior Appelbaum waited on the side for a chance to pay his respects. Appelbaum held a note he had written to the family along with a picture of him and Harari from 1985, when they were in officers’ training school together.
In the picture, Appelbaum and Harari are standing on a desert hilltop in uniform, two men in their early 20s with their entire lives ahead of them.
Appelbaum said he drove down to Netanya to attend the funeral because he could never forget the kindness and easygoing nature of the man he served with 25 years earlier and had only seen occasionally since.
“Officers school was a very intense time, but he [Harari] was so kind-hearted, such a special and fun person to be around that he made it fun,” Appelbaum said.
“It’s funny you know, there are things I can’t remember that happened a month ago, but I’ll never forget this good-hearted man I met 25 years ago.”
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report