The girlfriend of IDF Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi, killed along the border with Gaza Friday, said she could not stop crying.
By: World Israel News Staff
Hundreds attended the funeral of Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi on Sunday at the Sgulah Cemetery in Petach Tikva.
Levi’s girlfriend, Shachar Erez, wrote on Instagram: “My heart is burning and the tears won’t stop. Who would have believed you would leave me so fast.
“As soon as they notified me I broke out crying and fell on the floor. We had a million plans together and we counted the days until we would meet again.
“In two weeks time you have a birthday. While I am here planning your birthday, everything blows up. I can’t believe it’s true that you are the one that fell.”
Aviv was killed while on patrol with the Givati battalion on the southern border of the Gaza Strip Friday afternoon. He was the first IDF soldier killed in action near Gaza since Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Aviv was shot while wearing ceramic body armor. But the bullet, fired from a high-power rifle, penetrated the armor and killed Levi.
Levi was slated to be discharged from IDF service in the coming months. His parents were abroad when they received word.
He leaves behind three siblings, one of whom is presently serving in the IDF.
“It is not easy to eulogize a child. It is not natural,” said Levi’s father, Yaakov, to the crowd of mourners, Ynet reported.
“You were a ray of light for us, glowing and smiling. We loved to watch you grow into the man you became. You were the salt of the earth and paid the highest price because you excelled. You did not evade any task, big or small. You watched over your friends. We are not parting from you — you will be with us forever.”
Levi’s friends, graduates of Golda Meir High School in Petah Tikva, met to hold a ceremony in his memory.
Dudu, one of Aviv’s friends, told Ha’aretz that Aviv always tried to make it seem as though the situation in Gaza wasn’t all that bad. “But I was there and I know that everything is not rosy there,” he said.
Mayor of Petach Tikva Yitzik Braverman said at the funeral:
“I am trying but it is difficult for me to find the right words to comfort, words that are capable of meeting the gaze of the family. Yesterday when I visited Aviv’s school, among the friends who were devastated I could hear how much Aviv was loved, a leader, a role model, a friend to all, who had plans and dreams for after his IDF service and for the more distant future.
“I heard from Aviv’s commander how determined he was and how much talent and abilities he had to carry out his orders and to lead his fellow soldiers in a way that was above and beyond what was expected of him by his commanders.
“He didn’t have to be out when he was, he volunteered, and as his commander said Aviv was the best of them all.
“Today Petach Tikva mourns the best of its sons, whose family is full of values and deeply rooted in this land,” Braverman concluded.