Those we have lost

Sgt. Tomer Leibovitz, 19: Star athlete who volunteered for combat

Killed battling Hamas near the border with Gaza on October 7

Sgt. Tomer Leibovitz killed battling Hamas terrorists near Kibbutz Nahal Oz on October 7. (IDF)
Sgt. Tomer Leibovitz killed battling Hamas terrorists near Kibbutz Nahal Oz on October 7. (IDF)

Sgt. Tomer Leibovitz, 19, from Tel Aviv, was killed battling Hamas terrorists near Kibbutz Nahal Oz on October 7.

Leibovitz served in the 75th Battalion of the 7th Armored Brigade, stationed at the Nahal Oz military base next to the kibbutz. On October 7, he and his unit were sent to fight northwest of the base, where they were met with hundreds of Hamas terrorists. They eliminated dozens before an anti-tank missile hit them, killing Leibovitz and some of his comrades, including Cpt. Daniel Perez, whose body was taken to Gaza and is still held there nearly six months later.

Leibovitz’s body was found a few days after his death, inside his tank. He was buried on October 17 in the Kiryat Shaul military cemetery. He is survived by his parents, Shay and Keren, and his sisters, Noam and Lior.

Growing up, Leibovitz was a star student and continued his intellectual pursuits in the army, according to his father, Shay, who told Channel 13 in February that Leibovitz read books at a “dizzying pace.”

An avid sports fan from a young age, Leibovitz was always up-to-date on the statistics for his favorite teams at home and abroad. He was also a skilled athlete and became a standout volleyball player at the KKTA Tel Aviv-based club. After his death, the club’s youth team was named “Tomer” after him, and the men’s team was called “Tomer’s Friends.”

“Tomer was full of light, goodness, determination, and initiative,” his father said. “He loved people and animals.”

מחר יתקיים משחק הבית הראשון של קבוצת הנוער שלנו: ק.ק. ׳תומר׳ ת״א ????????בתחילת המשחק יערך טקס קצר לזיכרו של תומר האהוב והגיבור שלנו ????שבת 6.1.24, בשעה 17:15 ⏱️מ.ס עירוני “חדש” (אהבת ציון 16 ת”א) ????️

Posted by ‎ק.ק תל אביב כדורעף – KKTA Volleyball‎ on Friday, January 5, 2024

One week before his death, Leibovitz rescued two puppies from the Nahal Oz base and convinced his family to adopt them. He named them Tank and Ace.

According to his father, Leibovitz was meant to join the IDF as an “exceptional athlete” to focus on volleyball but decided just before enlisting that he wanted to be a combat soldier in the armored corps.

Koby Levy, who served with Leibovitz, said he was “a man who proves that compassion… goes hand in hand with steadfast, deadly militancy.”

“So many people love you, Tomer,” his close friend and fellow volleyball player, Ron Tidhar, wrote in an Instagram post. “Always open, supportive, and listening.”

“My Tomer, wonderful child, you were the glory of humankind — a unique creation that cannot be replicated. You were always learning new things, advancing, and developing,” Leibovitz’s father said.

“I am sure that if you had lived, you would have changed the world… I love you, my child, and I miss you.”

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