Israel honors fallen soldiers, in Shejaiya ambush memorial

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Funerals were held for Israeli troops killed in a Hamas ambush in the Shejaiya region of Gaza, on Wednesday, as the highest ranks of the Israel Defense Force showed their support for the bereaved.

The attack claimed the lives of nine Israeli soldiers, including high ranking officers and commanders.

Col. Itzhak Ben Basat and Lt. Col. Tomer Grinberg were among the deceased and are being mourned not just by their families and the IDF but the entire nation of Israel.

They, along with their troops, were considered to be some of the best soldiers in the Israeli army and are being seen as a massive loss to Israel’s war effort.

The ambush conducted by Hamas has been recognized as one of the deadliest assaults of the conflict, till this point. President Isaac Herzog took to Twitter to extend his condolences, describing those who lost their lives as the “best of the best, heroes among heroes who fell in battle to defend their people and homeland, and leave behind a gaping absence… in all of our hearts.”

Col. Itzhak Ben Basat was the most senior officer lost in the conflict against Hamas. At the age of 44, Basat was the head of the famed Golani Brigade’s Chief Forward Command Team.

His funeral was held with full honours at the military cemetery in Kfar Tavor. Basat’s wife spoke about what his loss means to his family, “All night I tried to write, I couldn’t get to it and my heart is dying to say goodbye. This morning I woke up and we cried, the kids and I. Five broken hearts that love you and are connected to you.”

His mother Edna was the one who gave his eulogy, saying the following, “In my eyes, you were invincible. I was sure that you had a special protection. There are many things I want to say about you, you are my child, unique and special.”

Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor, who happens to the Head of the IDF Personnel Directorate, explained that Ben Basat was due to retire and was enjoying a holiday when the attack on the 7th of October occurred. He sprung into action immediately, rescuing residents who were being threatened.

Following the attack, he postponed his retirement to focus on the war effort as serving his nation was his top priority.

He said the following about Basat, “From the moment you fell, I started running through our first meeting in my head. A short meeting was enough for us, you stood out with quiet leadership, strived for contact, set norms, and joined the group that every battalion commander dreamed of. Together we grew, and I learned a chapter in responsible leadership from you. We will continue in your spirit until victory.”

Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery, saw the burial of Lt. Col. Tomer Grinberg. At the age of 35, Grinberg was the commander of the Golani Brigade’s 13 Battalion. His wife read a letter she had written to him recently as his eulogy.

“Congratulations my love. [Our daughter] Arbel made you a drawing with a blessing and she is so happy with the idea. I have so much to tell you and share with you but this is not the time. When everything is over, we will have all the time in the world to celebrate life together and our decision to be together.”

Maj. Moshe Avram Bar (23), Maj. Roei Meldasi (23), Cpt. Liel Hayo (22), a platoon commander in the 51st Battalion, from Shoham, Sgt. Achia Daskal (19), a soldier in the 51st Battalion, from Haifa, Maj. Ben Shelly (26), a squad commander in the Israeli Air Force’s Unit 669, from Kidron and Sgt. First Class Rom Hecht (20), of Unit 669, from Givatayim, also lost their lives.

Sgt. Eran Aloni, aged 19, who was a part of the 51st Battalion, was among the youngest men to lose their lives on Tuesday. He was laid to rest at a Beersheba cemetery with full honours.

The Shejaiya region was one of the most fortified areas that Hamas operated out of. These IDF troops were conducting search operations in the region when they were blindsided by enemy combatants, leading to heavy losses.

According to the IDF, the Hamas command structure in the area has been disrupted and the militants are now operating in smaller, more isolated groups. This disorganized system has made it harder to locate these squads, changing the nature of the conflict in Shejaiya significantly.

The 13th battalion came away from the attack on the 7th of October with more losses than most, losing 41 soldiers. This is seen as one of the reasons behind their involvement in some of the most intense combat situations since the beginning of the conflict, focusing increasingly on ground operations meant to retrieve hostages and destroy Hamas strongholds in Gaza.

Due to this, the 13th battalion has been in the thick of the action in Gaza and is an important part of Israel’s operations in the strip.

George Henry
George Henry
George Henry, a distinguished graduate of Columbia University, pursued his passion in Economics with outstanding academic achievements. George found his calling in journalism, aiming to raise awareness regarding geopolitical and socioeconomic issues. He is recognized for having a keen interest in international geopolitics, sports and women's rights. To reach George, you can email


Related Articles