Hebron Mourns Locals Who Fell in Battle

Yom Hazikaron - Memorial Day Ceremony at Tomb of Machpela.

10.5.16, 16:22
Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day, was marked at the Tomb of Machpela in Hebron, burial site of the Biblical Matriarchs and Patriarchs. The ceremony was held on Tuesday May 10th. In attendance were representatives of the Israel Defense Forces, bereaved families and an honor guard from an IDF Infantry Battalion.
A high percentage of men and women from Hebron, Kiryat Arba, and the greater Hebron Hills region joined combat units and become officers in the IDF. The presence of both normal civilian life and the military ensures Hebron has relative calm in comparison to other areas. These factors protect both Israeli and PA residents of Hebron, visitors to the historic city, and the rest of Israel who benefit from the prevention of an even greater terrorist infrastructure being formed.
There are so many brave heroes that could be mentioned. The following is a brief list of some of those that gave their lives for the benefit of the country.
Dror Weinberg
Colonel Dror Weinberg, age 38 was one of 12 people killed -- nine soldiers and three civilians from the Kiryat Arba emergency response team -- and 15 wounded in Hebron when jihadists opened fire and threw grenades at a group of worshipers Sabbath eve in 2002. The security personnel returned fire and pursued the attackers in a battle lasting some 90 minutes. 
Weinberg, who commanded the Hebron Brigade, was an outstanding field officer and was slated to become commander of the Paratroop Brigade. He also commanded a paratroop battalion, an elite Maglan unit, and a reserve brigade. 
OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky said that Weinberg had served in a number of senior field positions "and all of them with excellence and in a way that so characterized him: determination, absolute faith in the justice of his cause, leadership ability, and remarkable self-control especially in difficult and developing situations -- and with all this, with a wonderful sensitivity for human life and feelings. In a symbolic way, he was killed directly defending what he so much believed in: providing security for the Jewish residents of this region, just as in any other place where he was responsible."
Also killed in the attack was Border Police Chief-Superintendent Samih Sweidan, Chief of Operations of Hebron's Border Police unit, a 31-year-old Israeli resident of the village of Arab al-Aramshe, Lt. Dan Cohen, Sgt. Igor Drobitsky, Cpl. David Marcus, 20, Sgt. Tomer Nov, Sgt. Gad Rahamim, St.-Sgt. Netanel Makhlouf, St.-Sgt. Yeshayahu Davidov, Yitzhak Buanish (head of Kiryat Arba Emergency Response Team), Alexander Zwitman, and Alexander Dohan.
Major Benaya Sarel
Benaya Sarel was a native of Kiryat Arba, the close-by sister city of Hebron. He was one of the many soldiers killed defending Israel against the missile attacks from Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. His unit was ambushed during what was supposed to be a ceasefire with Hamas, killing him along with Second Lt. Hadar Goldin of Kfar Saba, and Staff Sgt. Liel Gidoni of Jerusalem. He was scheduled to me married that week.
An August 21, 2014 article in the Times of Israel stated, "Following his death, Sarel’s friends contacted Carmei Ha’Ir, a non-profit organization that helps those unable to provide for themselves, and offered to donate all the gifts that they were going to give to the couple to the organization instead. In addition, the group arranged to have a “wedding feast” for needy people at the headquarters of the Jerusalem-based organization that provides a daily free dinner for those who are unable to feed themselves. The tables in the dining room were laid out with a festive spread and a poster explained that the meal was in honor of a fallen IDF soldier in place of his wedding banquet. 'On a day that joy turned to sorrow. The sound of cheering turned to grief', the poster read. In this act of kindness find comfort."
Earlier this year, local high school students from Kirayt Arba and Hebron have formed what they called Sayeret Benaya, or "Benaya Patrol" named for Benaya Sarel. While soldiers stationed in the Hebron and Kiryat Arba area are on patrol against terrorists, the teenagers are on patrol delivering drinks and snacks to them. Members of the general public have joined the Benaya Patrol as well.
The project builds a relationship between high school students who will soon be inducted into army service and active duty soldiers.

Elazar Leibovich
Staff Sergeant Elazar Lebovitch (sometimes spelled Leibowitz) of Hebron, was killed in 2002 protecting a family driving home who was ambushed by terrorists on the road. He was driving newlyweds Neria and Sara Ben-Yitzhak to the Admot Yishai neighborhood in Hebron to celebrate their first Shabbat together with Neria's parents. When they reached the Zeif intersection terrorists opened fire on them, fatally wounding Elazar. The Dikstein family car approached from the opposite direction; three members of the family were killed and two were injured.
St.-Sgt. Elazar Lebovitch, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, served in the Nahal Brigade. He was the fifth child of Yossi and Etta Lebovitch, veteran residents of the Avraham Avinu neighborhood in Hebron. Orit Struck, a resident of Hebron, described Elazar as full of life, an idealist who volunteered for every task. Several years ago his brother Yedidia was wounded in a stabbing in the Hebron market.
A few months ago, due to the widespread shooting attacks and bombings throughout the country, Elazar had prepared a will that included instructions for his funeral, who should eulogize him and how he was to be buried.
St.-Sgt. Elazar Lebovitch was buried in the old Jewish cemetery in Hebron, near the graves of the victims of the 1929 Hebron massacre. A music concert took place in his memory and a CD entitled Songs Elazar Loved was released including well-known musicians, several from the area such as Ehud Banai, Shivi Keller, Sinai Tor, Aaron Razel and others.
David Wilder, veteran spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Hebron stated, " asked Elazar’s father, Yossi, why the family chose this way to commemorate Elazar’s death. He told me, “Elazar left a will, asking that at his funeral people should not mourn, rather they should sing and be happy. This led to the production of a special music CD, released earlier this year, full of songs that Elazar loved. Now we are trying to continue his legacy. It is not necessarily easy for us. We want the event to be suitable, not just a songfest get-together. But, with G-d’s help, it will work out the way we want, and the way Elazar would have wanted.”
These are just some of the people who have fallen in the line of duty or been victims of terrorism from Hebron and the surrounding communities. Nevertheless, The Hebron area enjoys a high rate of young people volunteering for combat units and other high level work. In addition youth joining Sherut Leumi (National Service) and other volunteer opportunities is high. A sense of obligation, and optimism prevails. On Yom Hazikaron we mourn those we lost and look forward to the brighter future they fought for.
To visit Hebron for Yom Hazikaron or Yom Haatzmaut:
United States contact info:
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230

In Israel contact the offices of the Jewish Community of Hebron at:
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