Givati Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi laid to rest
Hundreds of people attended the funeral of Givati Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi, who was murdered by sniper fire from Muslim terrorists at the security border fence with Gaza.
Levi, 20, a soldier in the Givati infantry brigade, was shot by a Hamas sniper near the fence. The IDF said Levi, who was wearing a ceramic vest, was killed by a bullet to the chest. A helicopter was initially called to evacuate him, but he was pronounced dead in the field.
A team of military experts has been appointed to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of Staff Sgt. Levi.
Friends, family and fellow soldiers made their way to the Segula Cemetery in Petah Tikva where the 20-year-old Givati soldier was buried.
“It is not easy to eulogize my son. It’s not natural,” said his father, Yaakov. “You were a ray of shining and smiling sun for us. We loved seeing every moment of you becoming the man that we knew. You were the salt of the earth and paid the ultimate price for your outstanding service.
“You never avoided any mission, however large or small. You guarded and protected your friends. We are not parting here. You will be with us forever,” the father said in the presence of hundreds of soldiers donning the purple Givati beret.
Levi’s girlfriend, Shahar Erez, posted on her Instagram account: “We had a million plans and we were counting the days until we met again. In two more weeks was your birthday, and while I was planning you the perfect day, everything blew up. I refuse to believe it’s real.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement:
“I sent heartfelt condolences on behalf of the citizens of Israel to the parents and brothers of Aviv Levi.”
“Together with his comrades, Aviv fought with determination and heroism against terror from the Gaza Strip. To our sorrow, this struggle sometimes claims a price that is heavy for us to bear. Our hearts are with the family.”
President Reuven Rivlin said: “The loss is unimaginable. We send a comforting embrace to his family and those who loved him at this difficult time. Together will all Israel, we feel your pain.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: “Aviv Levi fell in defense of the people, the country and the inhabitants of the Gaza border region.”