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Army says body not disturbed

Signs of digging found at grave of soldier killed this week

Guards positioned at cemetery where Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal was interred as it investigates incident

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Golani Brigade soldiers stand guard near the grave of Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, after it was vandalized, at the cemetery in Be'er Yaakov, May 15, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/ Flash90)
Golani Brigade soldiers stand guard near the grave of Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, after it was vandalized, at the cemetery in Be'er Yaakov, May 15, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/ Flash90)

Indications were found on Thursday night that someone had tried to dig up the grave of Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, who was killed in a rock throwing attack earlier this week, the military said.

“Representatives from the Military Rabbinate arrived at the scene and ensured that the sanctity of the fallen soldier had not been desecrated,” the Israel Defense Forces said.

Ben-Ygal was buried on Tuesday evening in the military section of the Be’er Yaakov cemetery.

The military said it and the Israel Police launched an investigation into the incident.

Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Ygal, who was killed when a rock was thrown at his head during an arrest raid in the northern West Bank village of Yabed on May 12, 2020. (Social media)

“In light of the incident, it was decided that the grave should be closed off and Golani Brigade soldiers will stand guard in the cemetery until the process is completed,” the IDF said.

Ben-Ygal’s family was informed about the matter immediately, the military said.

“The desecration of fallen IDF soldiers must be denounced,” the military said.

The Defense Ministry poured concrete into the grave overnight to prevent further desecration.

In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, the Golani Reconnaissance Battalion carried out a series of arrests in the northern West Bank village of Yabed. As the soldiers were making their way out of the Palestinian village, a brick thrown from the roof of a three-story building struck and killed Ben-Ygal, according to the IDF.

Hundreds of people attended his funeral on Tuesday evening.

“I love you so much. My son is a hero,” Ben-Ygal’s mother, Nava Revivo, cried out over his grave, according to Channel 12 news. “I’ll be strong. Guard us from above.”

Family and friends attend the funeral of IDF soldier Amit Ben-Ygal at the cemetery in the central city of Beer Yaakov, May 12, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

“You changed my life. My firstborn child. My beloved child. Your sisters don’t understand what’s happening. We’ll preserve your memory, your happiness, your love,” she said.

Ben-Ygal’s father also eulogized the slain soldier, his only child.

“Amit isn’t an only child. He has millions of other siblings who are sad, who admire [him] and who know our lives in the Land of Israel depend on the courage of Amit and his friends,” Baruch Ben-Ygal said.

“I don’t have anything else. I don’t have any other children. My only son,” he said. “I’m not a father now. I’m nothing. What a price I have paid.”

Lone children are not usually allowed into combat units, especially dangerous ones, without special permission from their parents. Ben-Ygal’s father granted him special permission to serve in a combat unit. Revivo has two other children from a second marriage.

Ben-Ygal was killed one month before the end of his service.

The 21-year-old from the central city of Ramat Gan was the first IDF soldier to be killed in action in 2020. He was posthumously promoted from staff sergeant to sergeant first class.

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