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July 30, 2014 8:56 am
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Israeli Mother to Fallen IDF Son: ‘You Were Taken Too Soon’

avatar by Dave Bender

Funeral of IDF St.-Sgt. Eliav Kahlon 22, from Safed Photo: Dave Bender

Funeral of IDF St.-Sgt. Eliav Kahlon 22, from Safed Photo: Dave Bender

Close-knit residents of Safed, in Israel’s Upper Galilee, packed into its small military cemetery on Tuesday, to lay to rest IDF St.-Sgt. Eliav Eliyahu Haim Kahlon, 22, who was killed in a clash with Hamas terrorists alongside northern Gaza a day earlier.

Kahlon and four other soldiers died in a firefight with the Palestinians, as they emerged from a tunnel out of Gaza, near a guard tower outside Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

Back at the far northern end of the country, surrounded by well over a thousand mourners, three generations of Kahlon’s family, and friends and relatives, wept and wailed as his flag-draped coffin was borne graveside on the shoulders of six soldiers from his unit.

“You were taken too soon!” Eliav’s mother Yocheved sobbed alongside his freshly-dug grave. Nearby stood his father, David, and seven brothers and sisters.

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“We didn’t see you for almost a month,” she said. “And only last Saturday night, (in a call) did you tell us of your struggles, and how much you missed your home.”

Yocheved said their family “merited his presence for 22 years … but it’s not over – it’s forever,” she cried.

IDF St.-Sgt. Eliav Kahlon, 22, of Safed, killed in figting in Gaza Photo: family

IDF St.-Sgt. Eliav Kahlon, 22, of Safed, killed in figting in Gaza Photo: family

“We’ll always be with you, for you, and shall be strengthened,” she said, and pleaded that her son ask God to give the family strength to carry on.

Safed Mayor Ilan Shochat told The Algemeiner of the Kahlon family’s fortitude in coping with the loss, which is shared in the hilltop community of some 35,000 residents.

“First off, Tzfat is a city of heroes, (and) a Jewish spiritual wellspring…” Shochat said. While “we are in mourning, we found the family strengthened in their belief that their son had to do his job as part of the chain of the Jewish generations.”

Shochat said he hoped that Kahlon “would be the last soldier to die, here, and on the other side.”

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