Israel was in mourning after an Israeli soldier was killed on Tuesday when Palestinians threw a cinder block off a roof during a raid in a West Bank town near Jenin — the first soldier lost in action this year.
Sgt. First Class Amit Ben-Yigal, 21, was an avid Zionist and opted to be in a combat unit despite being the only son in his family, which would have afforded him a military exemption.
“He was my only son, I have nothing else. He was my whole world,” Amit’s father, Baruch Ben-Yigal, told Kan radio. “I spoke with him every day. Such a tragedy befell me tonight, I don’t know how to start to comprehend it. I can’t even cry. I don’t know how to keep going.”
The young soldier insisted on serving on the frontlines in the elite Golani unit.
“He came from a Zionist household. He loved the people of Israel, the land of Israel,” Baruch Ben-Yigal said.
His son recently wrote a moving post on Facebook.
“For the past two years, I mark Remembrance Day in a different uniform from civilians. This time I’m in the soldier’s uniform with the beret and representing something. And suddenly the words have meaning, acts have consequences,” he wrote. “I would like to address each person who reads this post individually: Take a moment of silence, put on a calm song that you love, close your eyes, concentrate on one person out of every 23,741 who fell.”
IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said Ben-Yigal’s reconnaissance unit was carrying out arrests in the West Bank when a group of about 10 Palestinians began throwing rocks at them.
Zilberman said the rock that killed Ben-Yigal was probably thrown from the roof of one of the homes and hit him directly in the head even though Ben-Yigal was wearing a helmet.
“The IDF and security forces will get their hands on the degenerate terrorists who are responsible for this, we’ll settle the score,” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concurred.
“As has happened in every case in recent years, the long arm of Israel will reach the terrorist and settle the score,” he said.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old Palestinian was indicted on charges of stabbing an Israeli woman in Cfar Saba on Memorial Day last month — shortly after Israelis stood in silence for a two-minute siren in honor of fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.
Mahmoud Risha, from Tulkarem, entered Israel illegally. He allegedly stabbed the woman, 62, on April 28 and was shot by an armed civilian who was driving by. The woman sustained serious wounds.
These two incidents come after months of relative calm thanks in part to fears of contracting the coronavirus and the subsequent shutdowns by both Israeli and Palestinians authorities.