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April 21, 2015 9:48 pm

In First Memorial Day Since Protective Edge, Israel Remembers Most Recent Fallen Soldier Heroes

avatar by David Daoud

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As Israelis ready to commemorate Memorial Day, they share their experiences over the soldiers who fell in last summer's war. PHOTO: Wikipedia.

Israel has begun the observance of its annual Memorial Day commemoration for its fallen soldiers, security personnel and victims of terror. For Israelis, last summer’s war in Gaza added the names of new soldiers to the list of its fallen heroes.

This Thursday, Guy Boyland was supposed to celebrate his 22nd birthday, most likely with his good friends from Kibbutz Ginosar, at a local pub, cheering the day over a round of beers. However, Boyland, who was a combat engineer, fell at the hands of Hamas terrorists last July, and his friends deeply feel the loss. “Since Guy was killed, it has been very quiet for us,” they said.

But his friends and family will still hold a commemoration for their hero. On July 16, 10 days before the anniversary of his death, they will be holding an extraordinary memorial service for him, called “Bringing back the noise.” The event is expected to be attended by a few thousand of the kibbutz residents, and will honor Guy with a “large and noisy celebration, in Guy’s spirit,” his cousin, Erez Ruso, told Israel’s Walla news.

Moshe Malko, also a combat engineer in the Golani Brigade, fell in battle in last summer’s war, at the age of 20. He was killed as IDF soldiers battled through the Shujai’iya neighborhood, which Hamas had turned into a stronghold. He was killed while protecting a Namer APC sent to the area to extract fallen and wounded soldiers.

Moshe’s sister, Esther, was the first to find out about her brother’s death, when officers knocked on her family’s door to deliver the tragic news. “I told them that my parents won’t be able to digest it, I went back to the room, and they saw my face and immediately knew something terrible had happened.”

Esther also had to deliver the horrific news to their younger sisters, telling them, “you know that Moshe was a soldier. Now he became an angel who is guarding us from above.” After that, Esther said, everything – the funeral, shiva and condolences – went very quickly.

Moshe’s friends recalled him to Israel’s Channel 2 news as a humble man, who was always smiling, and was always ready to help others, always volunteering himself, and as a professional soldier. There was no lack of stories of Moshe bringing his fellow soldiers full plates of food during long nights of guard duty, or helping his fellow soldiers carry heavy loads.

His selflessness was not limited to his military life, and he emphasized carrying these values into his personal life, always striving to help others without asking anything in return.

Staff Sergeant Shachar Shelo was the last soldier to be killed in Operation Protective Edge, and his father, Shimon Shelo, said, “I don’t know how this Yom HaZikaron is going to be.” He said that, “every year I attend as a security guard, volunteering with the police in the central event in Gamla, but this year I’m going to be there in a completely different capacity.”

His parents recalled that in the days before his death, Shachar was constantly in contact with his family. “We spoke to him many times, and he sent a message saying, ‘See you again. I love you.'”  It was one of the last communications they received from their son, they told Walla.

Shachar’s father said that the loss of his son sharpened the perception he had that while for those who have not suffered such a loss, Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have fallen, but for those who have lost a loved one – it’s always Memorial Day. “It’s true that it’s not constantly influencing our lives every given moment – but it’s always in the background.”

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  • Rachamim Dwek

    I applaud the article but when dealing with this subject matter please check your facts. These heroes of Israel deserve to be remembered correctly. First Sergeant Moshe Malko was NOT a “combat engineer.” He was an Infantryman in Golani Brigade’s 13th Battalion. He did NOT die protecing a “Namer.” He was in an M113 enroute to a home demolition in Shajayyah in Gaza City, providing security for Sayeret operators, Sappers. The M113 got caught in a tight alley. The CO of the operation and 1 soldier got out of the M113 to try and get it out of the alley. They were hit with an RPG-7 round and killed. Another RPG-7 round then hit the M113 which has very, very thin armour. That second round killed 11 men, including Moshe.

  • KMan

    לעולם עולמי עד נזכור אתכם, אהובינו האמיצים.
    יהי זכרכם ונשמותיכם צרורים בצרור החיים

  • Emmett

    Most, if not all of Israel’s dead in the past year would still be alive if the govt of Israel(primarilly the BB) valued Jewish lives as much as they value the enemy Arab combatants and their supporters.

  • From a tiny corner in the Republic of North West Ireland flies an Israeli Flag in remembrance of her fallen. Without Israel the world would be a worse place. Israel is and has always been in favor of Peace and against all odds Israel continues to face not only her own enemies but those of the West. Israel is the first line of defense in the Middle East may G-d always be with her, her warriors both Jew and non-Jew.

  • Max

    Thanks to selfless heroes like Guy Boyland, Moshe Malko and Shachar Shelo, Israel and Jews in the Diaspora can stand proudly and say to all our enemies, “Never Again”; never again will the Jewish nation allow the anti-semites of the world to trample our sons and daughters without feeling the sharp sting of mighty counter-blows from David’s descendants.

  • Je m’associe a vous pour saluer leur mémoire.

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