Erez Orbach, one of four soldiers killed on Sunday in a truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem, was laid to rest to Monday in the military plot of the Kfar Etzion cemetery. Thousands attended the funeral.
Orbach, 20, of Alon Shvut in the Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem, had been exempt from army service for health reasons, but fought for the opportunity to volunteer and was in officers’ training school at the time of his murder.
Orbach and three others were killed when a terrorist from East Jerusalem rammed his truck into a group of soldiers at the Armon Hanatziv promenade in the capital Sunday.
He held US citizenship as the child of an American, the US Embassy in Israel said. Consular officials had been in touch with his family.
Speaking at a ceremony in honor of volunteer soldiers last year, Orbach said of his decision to volunteer that despite his health problems he never viewed himself “as different from others or as having more rights” and that his “long journey [to serve in the army] paid off,” according to Israeli media reports.
His grandfather, Moshe Orbach, told Army Radio in an interview prior to the funeral Monday morning that despite his request to serve having been rejected numerous times Orbach continued “to fight to be drafted to the army” and had said it was his duty to serve.
אלפים ליוו למנוחות את סגן משנה ארז אורבך ז"ל בכפר עציון.
עם סיום ההלוויה חבריו שרים לו בסמוך לקבר הטרי: "צדיק כתמר יפרח, כארז בלבנון ישגה" pic.twitter.com/DUR33NXZH4
— אריאל זיגלר (@ArielZigler) January 9, 2017
Orbach had studied at the Neve Shmuel Yeshiva in Efrat, then continued his studies in the Ma’alot Yeshiva.
The cadet is survived by parents Uri and Keren Orbach and five siblings.
The funerals of Lieutenant Yael Yekutiel, 20, of Givatayim, Cadet Shir Hajaj, 22, of Maaleh Adumim, and Cadet Shira Tzur, 20, from Haifa, are all scheduled to take place Monday afternoon.
An additional 16 people were injured in the attack, one of whom remains in serious condition.
Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.