'Myths and heroes'

"There is no spring that you didn't swim in, you walked in every riverbed," said Sarel of Amihai.

Ahikam Amihai 224 (photo credit: )
Ahikam Amihai 224
(photo credit: )
Ahikam Amihai and David Rubin had known each other for years - and long before becoming soldiers in two of the IDF's most elite units, they had already turned into local legends. "This is not just any funeral. And these aren't just any people. They are myths. We have stopped believing in myths and heroes, but they were just that," said their friend Beniya Sarel, who delivered a eulogy at their funeral on Saturday night. Amihai, 20, and Rubin, 21, grew up as neighbors in Kiryat Arba, and studied together at the Makor Hayim Yeshiva in Kfar Etzion before enlisting in the IDF. Amihai served in the IAF's Shaldag Unit as a training instructor, while Rubin was set to finish the grueling training for the Shayetet 13 Naval Seals in the next few weeks. Both were rabbis' sons - Rabbi Yehuda Amihai is the head of the Torah and Land Institute and David's father is Rabbi Michael Rubin of the Shavei Hebron Yeshiva. But beyond the common backgrounds - the two shared a common passion - hiking, particularly in the area around their home. "There is no spring that you didn't swim in, you walked in every riverbed," said Sarel of Amihai, one of nine siblings. "To die or to conquer the hill - it seems that this time, we didn't conquer." "Every park supervisor knew Ahikam - the boy who criss-crossed the Land of Israel from top to bottom and loved the Land of Israel," he continued. Sarel described Rubin, the oldest of seven children, as "always noble and tough." "You and I went through a year of the hardest training in the IDF," said Sarel. "You never broke down and you always led onward." Sarel promised that Rubin and Amihai's friends would continue in their footsteps - and that they would continue to hike together - but with empty spaces at the head of the groups. "We would follow you with our eyes closed, and we will continue to turn over every stone. But now we won't have anyone to ask where we're heading," Sarel said.