Surviving friends have told how Sgt. Matan Abergil, 19, saved their lives by jumping on them to take the force of a grenade that was being thrown into their armored personnel carrier.
Abergil and comrades from the Golani infantry regiment’s 13th battalion took part in fierce fighting against Hamas terrorists soon after the latter breached the Gaza border fence and infiltrated Kibbutz Nir Am on October 7.
“We were with Matan in the vehicle, we were surrounded, and we had no way of getting out,” one of his co-fighters, Daniel Varach, told the Ynet news site.
There were seven men in the APC. Suddenly, one of the terrorists hurled a grenade into it.
“Matan saw the grenade and jumped on us. I tried to stop him, but he was too determined. After a minute, I open my eyes, he’s on top of me, and he says, ‘I tried to do everything to protect the people of Israel,'” Varach said.
The friend went on, “I’m a medic. I tried to save him, but I saw there was no pulse and I said he was no longer with us.”
Abergil was the youngest of four children from a veteran family living in the Hermesh settlement in the northern West Bank.
His two brothers have been called up to the reserves.
His cousin Avraham Cohen — younger brother of Israeli TV reality star Hodaya Cohen — was one of at least 360 revelers at the Supernova party near the Gaza border to be murdered on October 7.