Missing IDF soldier found dead in Kfar Saba

Army investigating death of 20-year-old Eli Ashkenazi, whose body was found near city’s train station; police said to rule out foul play

IDF soldier Eli Ashkenazi (Courtesy)
IDF soldier Eli Ashkenazi (Courtesy)

The Israel Defense Forces said Monday that missing soldier Eli Ashkenazi was found dead in his hometown of Kfar Saba, after a day of intensive searches.

The IDF declined to officially comment on a possible cause of death, saying only that military police had opened an investigation into the matter.

Reports in Hebrew-language media said the 20-year-old Ashkenazi was found under a bridge next to the Kfar Saba train station. Police reportedly did not suspect he was the victim of a violent crime or nationalistically motivated attack.

Ashkenazi’s family told media outlets they were not aware of any personal problems that he may have been having, and said he had never disappeared before.

“He was a nice guy, athletic, friendly, never smoked or drank, and worked out a lot… he was a good boy,” his mother told the Ynet news site.

האזור בו אותר החייל נעדר שהתאבד .האזור הזה נסרק אמש על ידי המתנדבים

Posted by ‎חדשות השרון‎ on Monday, October 28, 2019

Ashkenazi left his home in Kfar Saba early Sunday morning to return to his base in the Golan Heights, but he never arrived. His mother said he left the house with only his gun and a small bag, leaving behind his backpack, military ID and other belongings.

On Sunday and Monday, the army, police and canine units conducted widespread searches in and around Kfar Saba. Late Sunday night, the IDF enlisted the help of the public, and distributed flyers of Ashkenazi around the city and on social media.

The IDF has recently stepped up efforts to combat suicide by active duty soldiers, educating commanders about mental health and make assistance more readily available to soldiers.

The suicide rate in the Israeli army is lower than that of people of the same age in the general population, and is also significantly less than the suicide rate of other militaries around the world.

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