Netanel Maman, a 22-year-old IDF soldier who was severely injured in a rocket attack last week, succumbed to his wounds at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva Friday. His funeral was held at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the cemetery of his hometown, Gan Yavneh.
Hundreds attended his funeral, including Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri, Ynet reported.
Maman was wounded when a Grad rocket exploded near his vehicle outside the southern town of Gan Yavneh, near Ashdod, last Friday night. He was struck in the head from the projectile, and had been hospitalized in critical condition after undergoing surgery to remove shrapnel from his skull.
Maman was on leave from the Israel Defense Forces’ Ordnance Corps after having served in combat in the Gaza Strip. His brother, Tamir, 19, a soldier in the air force, who was with him in the car, was lightly injured and was released from the hospital.
“They were standing at a traffic light when the siren sounded,” Sharon Ben-David, Maman’s brother-in-law said, according to Ynet.
“Tamir was driving the vehicle and managed to escape and take cover. Netanel did not have time to get out and then the rocket fell near him. Shrapnel penetrated through the car window and Netanel was hit in the neck and his head.”
Eden Nagar, a woman who was lightly wounded in the incident, said she had been in a vehicle adjacent to the two soldiers’ car when the rocket hit.
“We stopped at a junction, at a traffic light, in our car,” she recalled. “Next to us was another car with the two brothers. I heard sirens and wanted to get out, but the guy with me in the car told me there was no siren and closed the door, and wouldn’t let me out. When he closed the door, there was a huge blast.”
“Everyone in cars around us got out of their cars [before the rocket hit, as per the Home Front Command’s instructions] except for the guy who was wounded. He stayed in the car,” she said. “If he had got out, he would have saved himself; and if I had got out, I would have been more seriously injured.”
Maman’s death raises the toll of people killed on the Israeli side during — and after — Operation Protective Edge to 71.