ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Across Israel, mourners bury the dead as nation reels from still-climbing toll

Lone soldier Sgt. Benjamin Loeb laid to rest in Jerusalem; Ashdod resident Izabella Gandlin eulogized at her funeral instead of celebrating her wedding: ‘My beautiful angel’

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel

  • Mourners attend the funeral of IDF lone soldier Benjamin Loeb at the Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem, October 10, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
    Mourners attend the funeral of IDF lone soldier Benjamin Loeb at the Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem, October 10, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
  • Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier Adir Avodi in Modi'in, October 10, 2023. (Jonathan Shaul/Flash90)
    Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier Adir Avodi in Modi'in, October 10, 2023. (Jonathan Shaul/Flash90)
  • Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier Tal Cohen at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on October 10, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
    Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier Tal Cohen at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on October 10, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
  • Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier Ori Mordecai Shany at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, October 10, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
    Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier Ori Mordecai Shany at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, October 10, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

While the fierce battle between Israel and Hamas raged on through Tuesday, funeral after funeral was held across Israel, as soldiers and civilians alike, gunned down by Hamas terrorists after a mass infiltration on Saturday, were laid to rest.

In Jerusalem, lone soldier Sgt. Benjamin Loeb, a French-Israeli citizen and paratrooper, was buried at the Har HaMenuchot cemetery.

Loeb, who hailed from a Chabad family in Brunoy, France, made aliyah in order to enlist in the army.

“He fought to serve as a fighter and to protect the Jewish people and his land,” his friend Chami recalled on social media. “He was killed fighting near Gaza, and he fought until his last drop of blood.”

Mourners attend the funeral of IDF lone soldier Benjamin Loeb at the Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem, October 10, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Lt. Col. Alim Abdallah, 40, the deputy commander of the 300th “Baram” Regional Brigade, from the northern Druze village of Yanuh-Jat, was buried in his hometown on Tuesday.

Abdallah, who was killed during clashes with gunmen on the Lebanon border, left behind a wife and three children. The mayor of Yanuh-Jat, Mudi Sa’ad, eulogized the fallen lieutenant-colonel as “a modest, pleasant man who loved his family very much,” according to Haaretz. “He was a man of values, morals… he was a great ambassador for his family, for the village and for the Druze people in our beloved land.”

Hadar Prince, 21 of Rehovot, who was murdered by Hamas terrorists at the music festival, was buried Tuesday in the city after she was found dead following days of searches.

Labor MK Efrat Rayten, who attended the funeral, wrote on X that “there are no words of comfort possible, and I am trying to take on myself some of the horrible pain of the family and friends. The screams of her mother, Dana, will always be etched into my heart. We must look the pain and grief in the eyes.”

Hadar Prince. (Courtesy)

Ashdod resident Izabella Gandlin, 27, who was gunned down at the music festival near Kibbutz Re’im on Saturday, was supposed to marry her boyfriend, Nadav Yehuda, in just a few weeks.

Instead, she was laid to rest at the Ashdod cemetery on Tuesday, mourned by family and friends as well as Yehuda, who was found alive after several days of being missing.

“You were supposed to get married at the end of this month to the love of your life, Nadav,” eulogized her friend Nicole on social media. “The love between you was so special, you could see in your eyes how happy you were by his side. I’m sorry I didn’t succeed in saving you, my beautiful angel.”

Izabella Gandlin. (Courtesy)

Maj. Tal Cohen, 30, a Sayeret Matkal soldier from Ganei Tal in central Israel, who was killed during fighting on Saturday, leaves behind a wife and three children. He was buried Tuesday afternoon at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.

“Tal, for me you will always remain the sweet child who would run ahead just as soon as you saw Dad’s car coming to greet him, and would play with me every Shabbat and holiday,” his sister Anat said, eulogizing him. “My heart is broken and the pain is immense. I love you so much.”

Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier Maj. Tal Cohen at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on October 10, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Yaniv Sarudi, 26 of Ashdod, was working at the music festival with friends when Hamas terrorists attacked. Eyewitnesses recounted that he grabbed a weapon from one of the attackers and started shooting back before jumping into his vehicle, collecting eight other people along the way and driving as fast as possible.

Sarudi tried to drive to a nearby IDF base before realizing that it had been taken over by Hamas, and kept driving until reaching safety, even after he was shot twice by terrorists. Sarudi ultimately died of his wounds, but the nine people he collected survived, including his girlfriend, Sivan.

His mother, Leah, eulogized him at his funeral in Ashdod on Tuesday. “Our hero! You exhibited bravery against terrorists who showed up in masses, you fought, and instead of fleeing to save yourself, you collected your beloved Sivan and another eight people and you flew,” she said, according to a city news site. “You got them to a safe place and you paid the ultimate price.”

Yaniv Sarudi. (Courtesy)

Chief Superintendent Yitzhak Bazuka Shvili, 43, the commander of the Segev Shalom police station, who was killed battling Hamas terrorists in Re’im on Saturday, was laid to rest at the Beersheba military cemetery on Tuesday.

Bazuka Shvili had headed to Re’im to try and rescue his close friend, Chief Superintendent Ge-ar Davidov, the commander of the Rahat station, who had been wounded. Both of them were killed when they were hit by a Hamas rocket, family members said.

“You halted a blitz as you were rescuing the wounded and other police officers, including your friend Ge-ar,” recounted Bazuka Shvili’s deputy, Mani Ohayon, at his funeral, according to Ynet. “In your life and your death, you were not parted. My dear commander, your courage guided you like an arrow. Much will still be said about your heroism.”

The parents of Staff Sgt. Ohad Cohen, 20, a Shaldag soldier, from Idan, who was killed in battle, issued a notice calling on their son’s friends and comrades not to attend his funeral in the Idan moshav in the south on Tuesday.

“We want Ohad’s friends to keep fighting and are sending them strength,” the notice read. “Even those of you on leave should not come to the funeral but should rest and gather your strength to keep fighting until we win.”

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