Those we have lost

Staff Sgt. Shalev Baranes, 20: Golani soldier who loved his motorcycle

Killed while batting Hamas terrorists who invaded the Paga IDF outpost on October 7

Staff Sgt. Shalev Baranes (IDF)
Staff Sgt. Shalev Baranes (IDF)

Staff Sgt. Shalev Baranes, 20, a Golani Brigade soldier from Kfar Baruch, was killed on October 7 while battling the Hamas invasion of the Paga IDF outpost.

His father Avshalom told the Kan public broadcaster that around 8:30 a.m. that day, Shalev texted him that everything was OK and he would call soon. But there was never any call.

A group of soldiers, including Shalev, barricaded themselves inside the outpost’s dining hall as the terrorists invaded, while Hamas tried to set it on fire. According to Haaretz, Shalev and a group of three other soldiers, including Staff Sgt. Itay Glisko, decided not to wait inside and left the dining hall to try and fight back against the invaders and allow the others to escape. All four were killed in the battle.

“23 soldiers left the dining hall alive,” his mother Eva told Haaretz. “My son did not. He could have waited to be rescued, but he chose to go out and fight, because he knew there were no reinforcements. He said, ‘That’s not how I will end my life. A terrorist won’t burn me to death.'”

His father said they only received confirmation that he had been killed three days later. Shalev was buried on October 11 in Kfar Baruch. He is survived by his parents, Avshalom and Eva, and his younger siblings Ron, 17, and May, 11.

His mother told Kan he had recently purchased a new motorcycle, and was excited to take it out on trips in the area where they lived. His family said they always knew he would serve in Golani, following in the footsteps of his father and his uncle.

“I’m so, so proud of this boy,” she told Channel 14. “Shalev was my whole world. And I’m proud of him.”

“He always excelled,” she said, noting the awards and certifications he received during his army service. “He was always first… that’s what I would expect from my son, fighting until his last moment.” Eva added that “we had a connection that was beyond a mother and son, he was my best friend.”

Eva said though Shalev grew up in a traditional household, he was growing closer to observance, and after he enlisted “he would come home with a black kippa on, and put on tefillin, and wear tzitzit.” In his memory, she said, she has also began to adopt a more religious lifestyle.

His grandfather, Alex Baranes, told a local news site that Shalev “was a prince. A wonderful kid, even within his family he always made sure to be the leader and the supporter.”

Their close connection existed “from the day he was born… every Friday that he would come home from the army he would come to us with his parents and siblings and eat savta’s cooking. He would take me to the side and update me on what he was doing in the army, where he was stationed and that everything was OK.”

Their last text exchange, he said, was on Friday before the holiday began, “He wrote to me ‘chag sameach [happy holiday] to you and savta.’ I responded to him: ‘Take care of yourself.’ That was the last message from him, and the next day he was killed.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

Most Popular
read more: