Friends of murdered soldier Wachsman meet at site of his death 25 years later

Friends of murdered soldier Wachsman meet at site of his death 25 years later

Childhood companions of IDF infantryman, captured and killed by Hamas terrorists in 1994, convene with the team who tried to rescue him at the house where he died

Gil Halfon, a member of the IDF team that tried to rescue Nachson Wachsman from the Hamas terrorists who killed him, describes the operation to Wachsman's friends in the house where he was killed, November 2019. (Screenshot/Channel 12)
Gil Halfon, a member of the IDF team that tried to rescue Nachson Wachsman from the Hamas terrorists who killed him, describes the operation to Wachsman's friends in the house where he was killed, November 2019. (Screenshot/Channel 12)

Friends of Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman, who was abducted and killed by terrorists in 1994, returned to the site of his murder to meet the team that tried to rescue him to mark the 25th anniversary of his death.

On October 9, 1994, Wachsman, 19, a soldier in the Golani infantry brigade, left a base in northern Israel and disappeared after trying to hitch a ride at the Bnei Atarot junction in central Israel.

Two days after his disappearance, the Hamas terrorists who kidnapped him released a video demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for his freedom. If Israel did not comply, they vowed to kill Wachsman the following Friday at 8 p.m.

Speaking to the camera, Wachsman said: “Hamas captured me, they want to release their prisoners. If not, they will kill me. I ask of you to do what you can to get me out of here alive.”

To his parents, he said: “I hope to come back to you.”

Captured IDF soldier Nachson Wachsman in a video released by Hamas terrorists before they killed him during a botched rescue attempt in October, 1994. (Screenshot)

A team from the elite Sayeret Matkal special forces unit tried to rescue Wachsman from the Palestinian village north of Jerusalem where he was held, but his Hamas captors killed him as the soldiers closed in. One of the rescue team, Nir Poraz, was also killed in the attempt.

Some of Wachsman’s close friends, and members of the rescue team, described the ordeal to Channel 12 news in a report screened on Friday.

“You’re in shock. Your mind is racing, unchecked, to all these terrifying places. You don’t really understand what’s happening,” said Eyal Galpaz, one of Wachsman’s childhood friends, of the moment he heard of his capture.

“Nachshon was a kid who was beloved, always smiling, never got in trouble for anything,” said Boaz Robinovitch, a friend of Wachsman’s from his army unit.

“He wasn’t a ‘type cast’ combat soldier; he was small and skinny, but he was the most determined,” Robinovitch said.

When he heard of the capture, “it felt like a knife to the gut, it was so painful,” Robinovitch said.

“A captured soldier, you know that it’s not going to end well,” said Naor Goldman, Wachsman’s commander in the army. “To be a captured combat soldier, it’s maybe the worst thing that can happen to you, you’re helpless.”

Wachsman’s friends went to the home where Wachsman was killed, meeting teammates of the soldier, Poraz, who was killed in the rescue attempt there.

The former Sayeret Matkal soldiers described the rescue attempt to Wachsman’s friends.

פצע פתוח: הלוחמים חוזרים לבית בו הוחזק נחשון וקסמן

לוחמי הסיירת שנשלחו לחלץ את נחשון וקסמן וחבריו מגולני, חזרו אל הבית בביר נבאללה שבו הוא הוחזק. בין הקירות מחוררי הכדורים, מאות הקליעים שעדיין נותרו על הרצפה המפויחת, גם הגולנצ'יקים והמט"כליסטים, לא יכלו לעצור את הדמעות | הסיפור המלא מחר באולפן שישי

פורסם על ידי ‏החדשות‏ ב- יום חמישי, 7 בנובמבר 2019

“You couldn’t hear anything. You just hear yourself and your heart pounding,” said Lior Zeller, one of the rescuers.

They tried to blow a door off the building with an explosive charge, but the explosion wasn’t powerful enough, and they lost the element of surprise. A firefight broke out, killing Poraz, and wounding almost every member of the team.

The group found bullet casings and pieces of grenades still on the floor of the demolished home.

“The bed was here, and the bullets are still here. One of these bullets may have killed him,” Galpaz said. “On one hand, it’s coming full circle, but it’s hard for me to breathe, hard to get my head around it.”

The former commandos, one of whom was shot during the operation, described pulling their wounded commander out of the house.

Eyal Galpaz, a friend of murdered IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman, at the site of his death 25 years later in November 2019. (Screenshot/Channel 12)

“On this porch, we pulled Nir out through the door, and started treating him here, but he was already on his way out, and we understood that there wasn’t much we could do,” Zeller said.

At the time, Israel was engaged in the Oslo Accords peace talks and optimistic about the possibility of peace with its neighbors.

Yitzhak Rabin, who was prime minister at the time, took responsibility for the failed operation.

Poraz’s father had been an air force pilot and was killed in the Yom Kippur War when Poraz was an infant. Poraz received a commendation for bravery following the failed operation and was buried next to his father in the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery.

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