Yosef Goodman buried on Mt. Herzl

An American oleh, Goodman died in an IDF parachuting accident Thursday.

paratroopers 298  (photo credit: IDF file Photo)
paratroopers 298
(photo credit: IDF file Photo)
Yosef Goodman, 21, was buried at Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl military cemetery on Friday at 11:30 a.m. Goodman, an IDF soldier from the elite Maglan unit, was killed Thursday in a parachute training accident in a military base south of Ashdod. Goodman lived in Efrat, but was originally from New York. Friends and family eulogized the fallen soldier at his funeral. Goodman's commander praised him, saying he was a fearless soldier who showed everyone the meaning of Zionism. OC Manpower Maj.-Gen. Elazar Stern, whose son served together with the fallen soldier, spoke of Goodman's character: He was a person of opposites, rough, yet gentle; strong, yet embracing. Goodman jumped from an IDF plane together with other soldiers in a training exercise at the IDF's Nizanim base. When his parachute opened, however, it got entangled with the squad commander's parachute. Both soldiers cut their parachutes, and while one succeeded in opening his reserve parachute, Goodman did not and fell to the ground. Magen David Adom medics pronounced his death at the scene. The mishap marked the IDF's first training accident of 2006. The army said the Military Police planned to launch an investigation into the accident, which would also be probed by Col. Harel Knafo from the IDF Ground Forces Command. Goodman was the second of nine children, and his parents Mordechai and Ann ran the local Efrat pizzeria. Both father and son played in the American Football League in Israel (AFI). "Yosef was an amazing athlete," recalled Steve Leibowitz, president of the AFI. "He was a fearless player and had great athletic ability. He was by far one of the best players in the country." But beyond his athletic skills, Leibowitz - who has known the Goodman family for years - said that Yosef was a "true Zionist" who believed in contributing all of himself to the country and the IDF. "His athletic skills led him to become a combat soldier," Leibowitz said. "He wanted to be a combat soldier and he knew he would be good at it." Two weeks ago the army revealed its annual report on safety awareness within the military and claimed success in lowering the number of training accidents to 76 in 2005, 11 of which were parachuting accidents. In total, eight soldiers were killed last year compared to 10 soldiers who died in accidents in 2004.