Israeli Commando Laid to Rest: ‘You Love to Help Everyone in Need’
More than a thousand people on Wednesday attended the funeral of the latest Israeli soldier killed in an ongoing wave of Palestinian violence, with loved ones sharing their memories of an optimistic son, partner, and friend dedicated to helping others.
Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch, 21, was laid to rest in the central Israeli town of Gedera on Wednesday, one day after he was killed in the northern West Bank by a Palestinian gunman who is still at large.
A commando who served in a reconnaissance unit of the Givati infantry brigade, Ido left behind his parents and two younger sisters. He was remembered as a talented DJ who took part in Israel’s Scout movement and completed a year of national service before enlisting in the military.
“We chose to call you Ido, because Ido in the bible was a prophet, a leader,” his mother, Einav, told mourners, describing “a smiling and funny child, interested in the world and the environment, helping others.”
“You love to give of yourself and help everyone in need,” she said, “always in the center of things, organizing shirts for the team, organizing an excursion … for the team, organizing a team BBQ at our place, organizing shifts, everything.”
Ido’s girlfriend of three years, Roni Klievetsky, tearfully remembered him as “the most beautiful person I know, from inside and out.”
“We were inseparable,” she said. “Everyone who knew us understood that it was forever, including us. He would always tell me that I was the love of his life, I couldn’t believe that we would part like this.”
According to his former coach, Ofer Levi, Ido trained since age 13 with the aim of enlisting in a military combat unit. “Ido was the salt of the earth, from the first day I met him, a smiling and astute child,” said Levi. “I don’t say this just because Ido was murdered, but I say it as the truth.”
He recalled Ido’s participation in an event in his home town to benefit at-risk women, where Ido volunteered to DJ without compensation, “only seeking to help.” His corneas were donated posthumously, in what Levi described as an extension of his giving personality.
Baruch’s death came just days after Sgt. Noa Lazar, 18, was killed on Saturday night while serving at a military checkpoint in eastern Jerusalem, by a gunman who apparently drove up and shot her point-blank. She was laid to rest on Monday, in a funeral that was not open to the press. The suspected killer, a resident of the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat in eastern Jerusalem, is still at large.
“It’s terrible to speak about her in past tense,” Lazar’s childhood friend, Mikah, told reporters. “Whenever her name was mentioned it was always with a smile and always, ‘Oh, how funny she is,’ and, ‘Oh, what stories I have with her.’ It’s impossible to forget the girl she was.”