Soldier may have died by accidental shot from own gun

Ontario-born Noam Levy 'had a unique sense of justice and cherished each individual life.'

Noam Levi 248.88 (photo credit: IDF)
Noam Levi 248.88
(photo credit: IDF)
The death of St.-Sgt. Noam Adin Rechter Levy before dawn on Thursday was most likely the result of an accidental discharge from his weapon, the army said. Levy, a 20-year-old medic from Mitzpe Netofa, west of Tiberias, was killed during a routine patrol in Bir Zeit, north of Ramallah, with his company from the Duchifat Battalion, military sources said. The force encountered a group of Palestinian rioters, IDF sources said. At one point, Levy and other soldiers became separated from the rest of the unit, and then the shot was heard. Medics immediately treated Levy but doctors pronounced him dead at the scene. The army launched an investigation and initially said it was possible Levy was killed by "friendly fire." Later in the day, the IDF said that while it was still waiting for ballistic results, it appeared that Levy accidentally discharged his weapon during the encounter with the Palestinian rioters, fatally wounding himself. Levy's older brother Ma'ayan released a statement to the press describing Noam as a young man with a unique sense of justice who cherished and respected each individual life. "He was full of life. Everyone loved him. His smile never left his face. He had a rare kind of wide, open heart. He was a devoted and loyal friend who always provided a supportive shoulder and patient ear," Ma'ayan wrote. Noam "always sought joy and happiness. He made the most of every moment with his family and friends," his brother added. He had started serving as a medic only last month and, only a few weeks ago, helped save the life of a seriously injured terrorist, according to the statement. Noam, the second-youngest of five children, bore his grandmother's family name Rechter as one of his middle names. He was the only one in his family to have that name after the Holocaust, according to Ma'ayan. When Noam was eight, his family moved to Israel from Kitchener, Ontario, where his father David had been a rabbi, according to a neighbor. Noam's father is originally from West Virginia and his mother Shulamit is from Montreal, the neighbor added. "Noam was a very active child. He was curious and absorbed things quickly. Even before he could talk he could ride a bicycle without training wheels," wrote Ma'ayan. Noam excelled at sports, his brother wrote - in particular basketball, which he taught to the children in Mitzpe Netofa. Levy was to have turned 21 next month. He is survived by his parents, David and Shulamit, and four siblings, Ma'ayan, 27, Yaffa, 25, Shira, 23, and Yedidya, 16. His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday in his home town. Levy is the first soldier to be killed in the West Bank in over a year. Duchifat, which is part of the Kfir Brigade, is in charge of the Ramallah region and has carried out almost daily operations there for five years.