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Sgt. Elchai Teharlev
Soldier killed in car-ramming attack laid to rest
Stammering and shaking as tears streamed down his face, the soldier’s father bids his final farewell to his son as hundreds turn out to mourn the loss of a family member, friend and a soldier: ‘You were everything Elchai...21 years ago we received a gift. Now we have to return it,’ his mother says.
IDF soldier Sgt. Elchai Teharlev, 20, of the Golani Brigade’s 13th Battalion, was laid to rest on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on Thursday evening after being murdered in the vehicular attack carried out earlier the same day in the West Bank.

 

 

With tears streaming down his face, his father, Rabbi Ohad Teharlev, delivered a eulogy for his son in the presence of hundreds, including Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett.

 

Sgt. Elchai Teharlev buried (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Sgt. Elchai Teharlev buried (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

“Elchai, Elchai, I remember your Brit Milah (circumcision), you wouldn’t (stay still). You had all the strength and you had to be held tight. You were a dear son, with a thirst for God and everything life had to offer. To melodies, and psalms... You had the soul of an artist,” he said.

 

Father delivers eulogy (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Father delivers eulogy (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

“You were everything Elchai. You looked for a life in everything,” he continued, struggling to utter each word. “You had so much strength and desire. You were a boy with a generous heart. You had such a big heart. When you were young you grabbed candies (during a Bar-Mitzvah) in the synagogue and divided them between the children who didn’t catch them.

 

Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

 

“You were happy with your lot. You burst out light and life. You had a smile that filled hearts. Your magic grace never left anyone without a smile.”

 

Avital Teharlev (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Avital Teharlev (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

Elchai’s mother, Avital, also delivered an emotional eulogy. “Our love, just a month short of 21 years ago, we received a gift—the magic of a boy who had a real soul—and now we are forced to return this gift,” she began.

 

Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

 

“It is hard to digest the terrible, incomprehensible news that you are not with us. Your glowing look and your presence made the world a better place, a happier place. I thank God for the privilege and pleasure of being your mother," she went on. 

 

Naftali Bennett attends the funeral (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Naftali Bennett attends the funeral (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

Avital also listed the hobbies and talents with which she said her son was endowed, including music, writing, drawing and learning. “Your death is a huge loss, for the family, friends, the community, the army, for the people of Israel and for the world,” she lamented.

 

Sgt. Elchai Teharlev
Sgt. Elchai Teharlev

 

“Your pure heart touched everyone who knew you. I want to thank you for all the gifts you gave us during your time here, and I pray that we will succeed in continuing to preserve your unique spirit, even when your body is no longer with us. My boy, you have left us with a big challenge," she concluded.

 

(Translated and edited by Alexander J. Apfel)

 

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