Fifteen fallen comrades

The reservists killed in the worst day of fighting in southern Lebanon on Wednesday.

Lt. Gilad Shtukelman, 26, from Timrat Shtukelman, who worked as an airline steward for El Al, received his emergency call-up by an SMS message on his cell phone while in New York. He immediately returned to Israel and joined his unit on the front lines in Lebanon last weekend. He was killed Wednesday morning, apparently as a result of an anti-tank missile fired at his tank in the Lebanese village of Ayta a-Sha'ab. Shtukelman was laid to rest at 3 p.m. on Friday in the cemetery in Nahalal. He is survived by his parents and three siblings. Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Noam Goldman, 27, from Tel Aviv Goldman's parents were paying a condolence call to the family of a comrade of their son when officers came to notify them that their own son was killed in action. In his last telephone conversation with his father, Noam asked him if he heard of a particular battle in Lebanon in which Hizbullah fighters were killed. When his father said he did not hear of it, his son said that when he does he should know that "we were there," his father recounted. He was killed Wednesday morning in Ayta a-Sha'ab. Goldman, who was buried Thursday afternoon in the military cemetery in Kfar Sava, is survived by his parents and a brother. Capt. (res.) Leon (Yoni) Shomacher, 30, from Beit Nahamia A nature lover who loved traveling, Shomacher was described by his friends as a "real fighter" who related to his emergency call-up as his job. He had completed a BA in Physics and was pursuing his masters degree. He was killed Wednesday in Debel. Shomacher, who is survived by his parents, three siblings and his wife, was buried at 11 a.m. on Friday in the cemetery in Mazkeret Batya. Sgt.-Maj. (res.) David Shmidov, 25, from Jerusalem Shmidov, who immigrated with his family to Israel from Belarus, was killed in Kalieh one day before he got the long-awaited call that he was accepted to architectural studies at Bezalel. He returned home briefly on Sunday after receiving his emergency call-up, and saw his father and girlfriend one last time before leaving to join his comrades. His mother, who was at work at the time, missed seeing him leave. "He came back so briefly, and I was at work so I missed seeing him, and now I will never see him again," she said. Shmidov was buried at 2 p.m. on Friday at Mt. Herzl. He is survived by his parents and a brother, who is also fighting on the front line in Lebanon. St.-Sgt. (res.) Nir Cohen, 22, from Maccabim-Reut Cohen will be buried a day after his 23rd birthday, on Saturday night at 11 p.m. on Har Hertzl. Cohen, who worked with youth groups that came to Israel, had just rented an apartment in Tel Aviv. When he received his emergency call-up Cohen was supposed to serve as a medic, but told his commanders that he missed driving a tank, and so was assigned to be a tank driver, where he was killed. In his last conversation with a close friend he told her, "You have to say goodbye to me - perhaps I will not return." Cohen is survived by his parents and two brothers. St.-Sgt. (res.) Benny (Binyamin) Sela, 24, from Koranit Sela was killed Wednesday morning in Ayta a-Sha'ab. Sela, who was buried Thursday evening in the military section at the cemetery in Misgav, is survived by his parents and three siblings. Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Igor Kowalik, 26, from Nazareth Ilit The Belarus-born Kowalik, who immigrated with his family to Israel in 1990, served in the Paratroops Brigade during his military service. He studied law, and concomitantly worked as a bodyguard for Israeli VIPs. Neighbors described Kowalik as a diligent "golden young man who was always ready to help out. It is hard to find the likes of him," one neighbor said. He was killed Wednesday close to Taibeh. Kowalik, who was laid to rest Thursday afternoon in his home town, is survived by his parents and a sister. Maj. (res.) Natan Yahav, 36, from Kiryat Ono Yahav was killed Wednesday by an anti-tank missile fired at the structure in which he was staying, in the village of Debel. St.-Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Asher Reuven Novik, 36, from Kanaf Novik was killed in Debel, one week after his 36th birthday. Novik, who served in the Paratroops Brigade, will be buried on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in the cemetery in Ma'aleh Gamla. He is survived by his wife and two young children. St.-Sgt. (res.) Adi Salim, 22, from Beit Hashmonai Salim, who was killed in Debel, had recently completed his compulsory military service, and was working as a security guard before starting college this fall. He is survived by his parents and three sisters. Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Naor Kalan Kalan was killed near Debel, by an anti-tank missile that destroyed his tank and killed the other three members of his crew. He will be laid to rest at 6 p.m. on Sunday at the military section of Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael, where he lived. Sgt.-Maj. Gilad Zusman, 26, from Eli Zusman, who served in an elite combat unit, worked as a security guard for El Al. Friends described him as "the salt of the earth." He is the father of an eight-month-old baby. Sgt.-Maj. Idan Kobi, 26, from Eilat Kobi's girlfriend said that at 5 p.m. Wednesday she felt a severe blow to her heart. She tried to call him but he did not pick up his cell phone. Later, she learned that her boyfriend - who had served as a medic in the Paratroops Brigade - had been killed at that very hour. The two had planned to marry soon. Kobi's mother collapsed from grief upon hearing of his death and had to be rushed to a city hospital. Kobi was buried at 10 a.m. on Friday in Eilat.