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‘Now come home,’ eulogizes father of soldier killed in training accident

Hundreds accompany Lt. Avshalom Armoni as he is laid to rest at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem

Lieutenant Avshalom Armoni, one of two IDF soldiers killed in a training accident on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 (courtesy)
Lieutenant Avshalom Armoni, one of two IDF soldiers killed in a training accident on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 (courtesy)

Hundreds of family and friends attended the funeral on Thursday of Lieutenant Avshalom Armoni, 22, at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. Cohen was killed in a training accident on the Golan Heights.

Sgt. Avinoam Cohen, who was also killed in the accident late Monday, was laid to rest in the same cemetery on Wednesday.

Eulogizing her son at the funeral, Armoni’s mother, Tamar, spoke of her son’s love of life.

“You invested yourself in your friends and they loved you,” she said. “You honored your parents. You were funny and witty. The world lost a man who made so many people burst out laughing.”

Every Friday, when he came home from the Golan front, “you brought me flowers,” the mother remembered. “Now we’re bringing you flowers on Mount Herzl.

“You were the righteous child of the family,” she said.

Chemi Armoni, Avshalom’s father, wept at the “too little time” his son was given.

“You fell in defense of the country. I know how much you loved and cared for your soldiers. Enough. We understand. Now come home,” the father eulogized between sobs over his son’s grave.

“Heaven gave you too little time here, but in that short time you managed to do a lot, with unbelievable commitment,” he said. “You were unique, a modest man who set for us all a high moral and ethical standard. I’m just proud to be your dad.”

He spoke of Avshalom’s love of his country.

“I know that you fell while defending us and protecting our country out of love for Israel, out of faith in the return to Zion, for Zionism,” he said.

He also offered his condolences to Avinoam’s family.

The two IDF soldiers were killed and four others wounded when a self-propelled howitzer in which they were traveling flipped over during a training exercise in the Golan Heights late Tuesday night, the army said.

One of the soldiers was severely injured and taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital. The army said there was no immediate threat to his life. A second was moderately wounded, and the other two soldiers were lightly hurt.

As a result of the accident, the military called off all exercises until Sunday, beginning Wednesday afternoon. In addition, no mobile cannons will be allowed to drive after dark until further notice, the army said.

The soldiers were members of the 411th Battalion of the 282nd Regiment in the IDF’s Artillery Corps. They were taking part in an exercise for a company and battalion commanders course, driving in their mobile cannon from the area of the Nafah military base toward the nearby Wasset intersection.

As they traveled down a dirt road parallel to the Route 978 highway, they had to make a U-turn. When they started to make the turn, their cannon was positioned head-on with a line of vehicles that were also taking part in the exercise. The driver reported that the lights of the oncoming cars were “blinding him,” the army said.

While continuing to make the three-point turn, the self-propelled cannon went off the path and fell 26 feet (eight meters) into a ditch, an IDF spokesperson said.

Two teams of experts — one led by a brigadier general from the IDF Ground Forces and the second from the army’s company and battalion commanders course — will review the crash in order to determine how it happened and how it could have been prevented. It will also be investigated by the Military Police.

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