On Friday, Nov. 10, a month after being called up for duty, a booby-trap explosion in a tunnel shaft near a mosque in the Gaza Strip claimed the lives of four reservists in the Israel Defense Forces.
Master Sgt. (res.) Matan Meir, Sgt. Maj. (res.) Yossi Hershkovitz, Master Sgt. (res.) Sergey Shmerkin and Maj. (res.) Moshe Yedidyah Leiter—all from the 551st Reserve Paratrooper Brigade’s 697th Battalion—later succumbed to their wounds.
Viewing video documentation, one can begin to understand the activities of commando and paratrooper reservists, operating in the heart of the Beit Hanoun area in the northeastern Gaza Strip. The soldiers encountered and killed numerous terrorists, as well as uncovered tunnel shafts, arms caches, and among other things, explosives concealed in a children’s playground.
In a photo taken on Oct. 11 and shared on Facebook, one can see the soldiers, each leaving behind a world and a life. They are in full combat gear, preparing for Israel’s Gaza campaign in response to the terrorist attack four days earlier in which thousands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists invaded border communities and committed atrocities, murdering some 1,200 Israeli residents and abducting as many as 240.
Hershkovitz was the principal of the ORT Pelech High School for boys in Jerusalem; Meir worked in television and was part of the production team of the hit series “Fauda”; Shmerkin put on the uniform and reported for duty even though he had not been called up; and Leiter was about to begin his practicum in medical school.
The caption in the photo shared on Facebook, which turned into a mournful farewell image, reads: “No SOB can stop us; Am Yisrael Chai [‘The People of Israel Lives’].”
In addition to those killed in the explosion, some of the men in the photo, comrades within the unit, were wounded in the attack.
Originally published by Israel Hayom.