Those we have lost

Sgt. Shimon Lugasi, 19: ‘Righteous’ soldier with a permanent smile

Killed battling a Hamas invasion of the Nahal Oz outpost on October 7

Sgt. Shimon Lugasi (IDF)
Sgt. Shimon Lugasi (IDF)

Sgt. Shimon Yohai Lugasi, 19, a surveillance balloon operator in the Border Defense Corps’s 414th unit, from Acre, was killed on October 7 while battling Hamas terrorists at the Nahal Oz IDF outpost.

Shimon was one of five balloon operators on duty that fateful morning, who were waiting for a repair crew to arrive and fix the malfunctioning balloon when the Hamas invasion began. Instead, they began to fight back against the terrorists, but heavily outnumbered, all five were killed in the battle.

Shimon is survived by his parents, Rachel and Michel, and his siblings Daniel, Yael, Oriel and Noa. He was buried on October 12 in Nahariya.

Shimon had only joined the IDF six months before he was killed, and he had worked to lose weight in order to be placed in a more prestigious position, his family said. He grew up in a religious home and was noted for his strong faith and observance, and was also a devoted fan of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club.

A memorial Instagram page set up for him noted that he was born on the holiday of Hanukkah, “and you were always the light at home and for everyone.”

“What you did in 19 years, people who are 70 or 80 did not accomplish,” the memorial post continued. “You brought us huge pride when you achieved everything you wanted, to protect this country and our land and the citizens here — we are alive because of people like you, our angel. We hope that you are in a good place and you are smiling your smile that never left your face.”

Shimon’s girlfriend, Linoy, wrote on Instagram that she last saw him on October 4, three days before he was killed when he fought to get a brief break “to give me your final hug… you didn’t hold back one hug or kiss on that Wednesday.”

Linoy wrote that the couple were so looking forward “to you finishing the army and me finishing my studies and we would take the trip we always dreamed of. And after? We would only start our lives together as a married couple and establish a holy home with children running between our legs… my love, we dreamed of so many things together but now they will always remain a dream that was cut short.”

A month after he was killed, his brother, Oriel, wrote on Instagram that he is still “shattered into pieces.”

“I pray to God that you will come back and wake me up from this nightmare,” he wrote. “I miss our laughter and our fights so much, I have nobody to fight with, I’m bored without you — really I am nothing without you, you would always complete me in everything.”

His father, Michel, said in a video that “Shimon was a wonderful kid. Shimon was a righteous man.”

In his eulogy at his funeral, Michel noted that he did not express any anger, “but the opposite, I said, ‘Thank you God for the 20 years that you gave me Shimon.'” He was a “boy who did only good, who had the most incredible respect for his parents,” he said, noting that he worked as a teenager as a waiter and would always give his earnings to his father to help the family.

Michel said that Shimon would often walk around wrapped in the Israeli flag. “He had a love for others, he didn’t care who they were, if they were Jewish or Arab, if they needed anything they would get it… ‘love they neighbor as yourself,'” he said.

“Despite everything, despite the difficulties, and we had difficulties, he was always happy,” his father added. “He was always happy. He was never sad.”

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