Ronen Lubarsky, a soldier from an elite army unit who died Saturday, two days after he was critically injured during an arrest raid, was laid to rest early Sunday morning at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery.
“My dear brother, how did we arrive at this strange situation?” Lubarsky’s brother Eric said at the funeral, which was attended by hundreds. “You fought. Throughout your life you chose all of the closed doors and were better than everyone else. I’m sure you chose this moment too.”
The commander of Lubarsky’s Duvdevan unit, Lt. Col. A, praised the deceased as “the son of a family of warriors, the salt of the earth. While we prayed at your bedside in the hospital, your mother pointed at members of the family and said, ‘They’re all warriors, but Ronen is the best.’ Your mother was right. You were among the finest fighters in the unit.”
Lubarsky, 20, from the central city of Rehovot, was wounded when a marble slab was dropped on his head during an IDF operation to arrest suspected terrorists in the West Bank.
The army posthumously promoted him to the rank of staff sergeant.
“On Shabbat we lost Duvdevan soldier Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky, who was critically wounded during an operation to arrest wanted suspects,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. “Duvdevan, one of our elite units, carries out many arrests every night in an endless war.
“I wish to send my condolences to the family in the family of the entire nation of Israel and am closely monitoring the efforts to arrest the terrorist,” he added. “We will bring justice for Ronen.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed his condolences to Lubarsky’s family.
“Our security forces will get to the terrorist and the State of Israel will bring him to justice,” he said.
President Reuven Rivlin said he had spoken to Lubarsky’s parents when the soldier was fighting for his life in the hospital, and had sent prayers for his recovery. “Today, however, we are greatly pained to send our sympathies as we share in this great tragedy.”
Rivlin offered a message of “strength to the wonderful fighters and commanders of his unit, the best of our young men, who go out every night on operations that ensure we are able to carry on our day-to-day lives in safety.”
The heavy slab was thrown from a third-story rooftop at a group of troops conducting an arrest raid early Thursday morning in al-Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah, the army said.
Lubarsky was hospitalized in critical condition at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem’s intensive care unit.
On Thursday, the IDF revealed that the soldiers had been on a mission to arrest members of a terror cell who had been carrying out shooting attacks. One member of the cell was nabbed during the raid and two others later on Thursday, the army said. The raid was based on intelligence information obtained in coordination with the Shin Bet security agency.
According to the army’s initial investigation, the soldier was wearing a helmet at the time of the attack.
The assailant was not fired upon, the army said, because he was not identified.
The army said the soldiers were familiar with the risks of objects being thrown at them from previous operations in refugee camps. It said almost every time troops enter a camp in the West Bank, objects are thrown at them by Palestinians, including washing machines, refrigerators, and heavy furniture.
The military cleared the incident for publication several hours after it occurred, to give time to notify the soldier’s family first.
One thousand three hundred and eighty Palestinian suspects were arrested last year in missions of this kind, according to Hadashot television news.