Those we have lost

Staff Sgt. Dor Yarhi, 21: Sports lover made the most of each moment

Killed battling the Hamas invasion of the Nahal Oz IDF outpost on Oct. 7

Staff Sgt. Dor Yarhi (Courtesy)
Staff Sgt. Dor Yarhi (Courtesy)

Staff Sgt. Dor Yarhi, 21, a Golani Brigade soldier from Rishon Lezion, was killed on October 7 while battling Hamas terrorists at the Nahal Oz IDF outpost.

That morning, Dor was slain alongside his commander, Maj. Shilo Har-Even, and four other Golani soldiers, including Staff Sgt. Dvir Zakai, as they tried to repel the Hamas invasion of the base.

His family was only informed four days later that he had been killed.

Dor was buried on October 12 in Rishon Lezion. He is survived by his parents, Galit and Yossi, and his younger brother Matan.

A talented basketball player, he played with the Maccabi Rishon Lezion youth team, which memorialized him as “a wonderful kid and player who always helped his friends and prioritized the value of giving above all else.”

His close friend, Orel Avikzar, wrote on Instagram that he was struggling to write about Dor in the past tense.

“You always took such care of everyone. All the plans that you planned. You were such a warrior,” he wrote. “I know on that terrible Saturday you fought until your last bullet and you managed to save hundreds of people.”

Their army breaks never seemed to line up, Avikzar added, and the last time he saw Dor was at the funeral of their mutual friend, Sgt. Lia Ben Nun, who was killed in a cross-border attack from Egypt in June 2023.

“My friend, I will never ever forget you, how you would come over and fall asleep because you were tired from the base, and how you would go along with me with everything. You are part of my life forever.”

Dor’s father, Yossi, told Walla that when he enlisted in Golani, “he never for a moment abandoned his love for sports,” noting his support for the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team and Beitar Jerusalem soccer club. “Our dream was to fly to watch Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Final Four.”

Watching games now without him, he said, “My thoughts are always on him. He was supposed to be already now a released soldier.” Dor, he said, “achieved all of his missions. It was always hard for him, but he reached every goal and I was so proud of him. He always helped his friends.”

When he had a break from the army, “Dor would immediately look to go play basketball or soccer with his friends. He didn’t rest for a moment at home,” his father said. “It’s like he knew he was living on borrowed time. That he was living with a time limit. He didn’t want to sleep, he wanted to take advantage of every moment.”

His mother, Galit, told Walla that during his two years in the army, “Dor went through a serious change. He was a very indulged child, and the army changed him.”

Every day since he was killed, she said, “I miss him.”

“I miss his requests for shnitzel when he would come home from the army. I miss his hugs, his kisses, his words. The connection he had with his younger brother Matan who misses him.”

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