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May 27, 2018 1:10 pm

Brother of Elite IDF Soldier Killed During West Bank Raid: ‘We Really Thought a Miracle Could Happen’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Graves of fallen IDF soldiers at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem. Photo: IDF via Wikimedia Commons.

The family of an elite Israel Defense Forces soldier who died over the weekend after being struck with a marble block hoped for his recovery and believed that a “miracle” was possible, the soldier’s brother said on Sunday.

Staff Sergeant Ronen Lubarsky, 20, was taking part in an arrest operation in the West Bank refugee camp of al-Am’ari on Thursday when an unknown assailant three stories above dropped a marble slab on his head.

Lubarsky’s helmet was crushed by the block and he suffered severe head injuries. He was evacuated to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, where he clung to life until Saturday. He was buried on Sunday at the Mount Herzl military cemetery.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Lubarksy’s brother Aryeh described the family’s vigil at his deathbed.

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“It wasn’t simple,” he said, “but there was a point when we really thought a miracle could happen.”

He painted a portrait of his brother as a determined and highly motivated young man who overcame substantial difficulties in order to be accepted into the IDF’s elite Duvdevan unit.

“My little brother was a poor student until a certain age,” he said. “He had a feeling of inferiority, of difficulty, that he couldn’t accomplish what he wanted. This was exactly what caused him to enter everywhere in strength from a young age.”

“His grades weren’t good enough,” he continued, to be accepted into an elite unit, but “he went, he fought, and he got recommendations.”

After another setback, Lubarsky continued his struggle and “he was drafted into the paratroopers,” eventually being accepted to the Duvdevan unit.

“It wasn’t easy,” said his brother.

Aryeh noted that a final investigation into Ronen’s death still has not been undertaken, but it appears he was killed while protecting his comrades in arms during the operation.

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