Those We Have Lost

Staff Sgt. Itamar Ben Yehuda, 21: ‘A person to climb a mountain with’

Killed battling Hamas terrorists at the Paga IDF outpost on October 7

Itamar Ben Yehuda, who was killed battling Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)
Itamar Ben Yehuda, who was killed battling Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. (Courtesy)

Staff Sgt. Itamar Ben Yehuda, 21, a Golani army medic from Rehovot, was killed battling terrorists at the Paga IDF outpost on October 7.

Itamar was spending his last weekend on base before his release from service.

His father, Yoram, told Channel 12 news that Itamar was wounded at around 8 a.m. and called his parents shortly after.

“He sounded strong, upbeat, he sounded like he believed he could come out of it,” he said.

The family’s last contact with Itamar was at 9 a.m. when he called his twin brother Gilad. It wasn’t until a week later that he was identified and his family was told he had been killed.

Itamar and 12 others from the 13th battalion — including the outpost commander, Cpt. Dekel Suissa — were killed at the Paga outpost battling more than 50 Hamas terrorists that day, with just 13 out of 26 soldiers who were stationed there that day surviving.

He leaves behind his parents, Dorit and Yoram, and four siblings, Nadav, Reut, Yael and his twin Gilad.

Yoram, a clinical psychologist who enlisted to command the center set up by the IDF to help treat soldiers’ trauma, said he has treated many soldiers who knew Itamar and has brought back recordings from his patients to the family.

“It crushes me all over again every time, but I can make sure [the soldiers] don’t notice, and I give them a hug at the end,” he told N12.

At his funeral, Dorit said that Itamar had been passionately preparing for his entry into civilian life.

In his eulogy at Itamar’s funeral, Nadav said that Itamar and Gilad had been a special gift to him as he had asked his parents constantly for a younger brother.

“You showed everyone how to get injured and go on and not stop, and in the end, you showed everyone how to get killed in battle,” he said.

“My heroic brother, Itamar, was a person to climb mountains with, a person to go to war with,” he said.

Itamar’s sister, Reut, described him as generous, emotionally intelligent and capable of laughing at himself.

Gilad said that Itamar was a brave and highly moral person who held his soldiers up to the highest standard. By losing Itamar, he said, he had lost a piece of himself.

“I know you would have wanted me to be strong, and that’s what I will be,” he said.

A few days after Itamar was killed, Nadav said, two books that Itamar ordered were delivered to the family’s home. One was called “How to Retire Early.”

Speaking at a memorial ceremony in Itamar’s honor at the Ron Arad School where he studied, Gilad described how Itamar always helped his fellow soldiers feel motivated, saying that many of them told the family that Itamar helped them get through difficult times in the army.

As part of a project by the Amit schools chain to remember fallen soldiers, Itamar’s former high school teacher said he lit up any room he entered.

“You could see the good in his eyes,” she said.

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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