image Photo: Flash90

IDF soldier laid to rest amid ongoing manhunt for killer

Hundreds of Israelis joined family, senior army officials and other mourners at the funeral service of IDF Sergeant First Class Amit Ben Ygal at a military cemetery in the central city of Be’er Yaakov. The combat soldier was killed during routine operational duty with the Reconnaissance Unit of the Golani Brigade in the West Bank Arab West Bank town of Ya’bad early Tuesday morning.

The fallen serviceman was eulogized by outgoing Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, who said, “when sometimes it is difficult, we remember exactly why we are here. We have no illusions; we are a nation that finds its power out of difficulties. A power out of sacrifice. A power that knows that if our sons will not fight in the nights, their parents will not be able to walks the streets safely by day. A power that is drawn from the depth of our roots, here, in the land of Israel.”

In reference to Sergeant Ben Ygal’s having been the sole son of his parents, Minister Bennett cited scripture from Genesis 22:2, saying, “’Take now Thy son, Thine only son, whom thou lovest,’” before adding “Amit is not an only son. He has millions of brothers that are sad, love, admire. Who know that their lives and the eternity of Israel here in our land depend on the courage of Amit and his friends. None of us understands the ways of God. We don’t have words of comfort for the overwhelming pain. But there is an overwhelming admiration and an endless love from the nation of Israel.”

The top Israeli Defense official further vowed not to rest until the apprehension of the terrorist responsible for killing Ben Ygal by dropping a rock from a rooftop onto the Israeli force below. “In the face of cowards that hide themselves among children and building rooftops, heroic and humane soldiers stand and defend their nation – a nation of the brave,” said Bennett. Citing Psalm 18:37, the Defense Minister said, “I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.”

In remarks addressed to the slain sergeant’s comrades, Bennett proclaimed, “Warriors of Golani, you will return to fight a locate the abhorrent terrorist who did this. And, we will be victorious in the face of our enemies;” to which those gathered responded “Amen.”

A joint manhunt by IDF and Shin Bet Security Agency forces has been underway in search of the Palestinian assailant since the deadly attack, resulting in the arrests of more than 20 suspects.

Clashes erupted in several locations across the West Bank in response to the Israeli raids. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, troops were confronted with a ‘violent riot upon entering the village of Al-Fawar’ near the city of Hebron, including the hurling of improvised explosive devices and rocks at the Israeli soldiers, who responded with “riot dispersal means and live fire” in accordance with the rules of engagement.

One IDF soldier was reportedly lightly injured during the incident, while the Palestinian Health Ministry claimed a 15-year-old was killed and four other Palestinians sustained injuries. During a funeral procession for the teenager in Al-Fawar, Palestinian mourners demanded revenge be exacted against Israel. West Bank resident Khaled Issa was cited by Reuters as saying, “The occupation (Israel) doesn’t need an excuse to raid the Palestinian areas, camps, villages and cities. The ‘language of the occupation’ is always blood, killings and displacement. The people are fighting the invisible enemy, coronavirus, while the occupation is moving deep in killing, confiscating lands and settlement.”