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'Daddy, I love you and miss you': thousands mourn commando who fell in Gaza hostage rescue

During funeral of Arnon Zamora, killed in special operation to rescue 4 Israeli hostages in Gaza, Israel Police's air unit performs honor flyover above Mount Herzl in his memory

On Sunday thousands gathered to bid farewell to Chief Inspector Arnon Zamora, who fell during the operation to rescue hostages from Nuseirat. Among those present were Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, alongside the Border Police Commander, the Yamam counterterrorism unit Commander, senior police command staff, family members, and many others.
During Zamora's funeral, the Israeli Police's air unit conducted an honor flyover above Mount Herzl in his memory and in honor of all Yamam, Border Police, and police officers who have fallen in the Sword of Iron War. The flyover featured two "Blue" helicopters performing a low-altitude flight over the funeral site.
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הלווייתו של רפ"ק ארנון זמורה ז"ל
הלווייתו של רפ"ק ארנון זמורה ז"ל
The flyover and the funeral of Arnon Zamora
(Photo: Israel Police Spokesperson)
Zamora, who also served as a parachuting instructor in various roles in Yamam, frequently collaborated with the air unit. In recognition of his unique contributions, the decision was made to conduct this inaugural flyover.
The daring operation in Nuseirat was named "Operation Arnon," in his honor. He is survived by his parents, his wife Michal, their two children, Noam and Itai, a brother, and two sisters. Zamora's young children were not present at the funeral, but his wife played a recording of them on the eulogy stage, in which they both said, "Daddy, I love you and miss you."
Michal, Arnon's wife, said in her eulogy: "In the last few weeks, as you trained for this crucial mission, I kept asking you: Are you calm? And you always answered yes. You assured me there was no chance anything would happen except the rescue of the four hostages. And yet, here we are."
Michal added that beyond being a hero, Arnon was "a sweet, compassionate, loving, and sensitive man. You were my partner for almost 12 years, and for the past eight years, a perfect father to Noam and Itai—always laughing, caring, supportive, and encouraging."
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הלווייתו של רפ"ק ארנון זמורה ז"ל
הלווייתו של רפ"ק ארנון זמורה ז"ל
(Photo: Israel Police Spokesperson)
"There is no love like ours," she continued. "A love where we chose each other every morning. With each passing day, we loved each other more. I always told everyone, and you, that the moments my heart was most full of love for you were the smallest, most mundane ones—like finding you had already moved the laundry from the washer to the dryer."
Arnon's mother, Ruti, said in her eulogy: "Our Ari, my dear child with big green eyes. A prince, as Grandma Hannah used to say. From a young age, you played with soldiers, making guns from branches when I wouldn’t buy you toy ones. At three, you strapped on a small backpack and a rolled-up blanket and, under the command of your five-year-old sister Einav, parachuted from the slide, inspired by the movie 'Azit the Paratrooper Dog.'"
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צעדת דגלים לזכרו של פקד ארנון זמורה ז"ל
צעדת דגלים לזכרו של פקד ארנון זמורה ז"ל
Israelis honoring Arnon Zamora
(Photo: Amit Shabi)
"At five, you set up ambushes for cats and taught three-year-old Yonatan to be a soldier. Your favorite childhood movie was 'Robin Hood,' which we watched endlessly. In second grade, you dressed up as a paratrooper for Purim. You juggled and entertained at your younger sister Nitzan’s birthday parties. On Israel’s 53rd Independence Day, you danced with the Mahola troupe here on Mount Herzl. You idolized Yoni Netanyahu for the Entebbe operation and watched the movie countless times."
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הלווייתו של רפ"ק ארנון זמורה ז"ל
הלווייתו של רפ"ק ארנון זמורה ז"ל
(Photo: Israel Police Spokesperson)
Yamam Commander, Deputy Commissioner H', said in his eulogy: "Yesterday, after extensive preparations, Yamam operated to rescue the hostages from Hamas captivity. The mission succeeded, and the hostages returned safely to their families. We brought joy, pride, and relief to Israel, but the price Yamam paid is unbearably heavy. Deep sorrow has fallen upon the Yamam family with Arnon’s passing."
"We knew this would be an exceptionally complex operation in a dense, hostile, and dangerous area. We prepared extensively, planned meticulously, trained continuously, and refined our approach to be ready for any scenario. Arnon, a fearless and determined combatant, acted with exceptional bravery. He saw his work as a mission and viewed himself as an integral part of the nation's defense."
Commissioner Shabtai said: "In the midst of the relentless fight we’ve been waging for the past eight months against a murderous enemy seeking to undermine our right to exist, we honor and remember Chief Superintendent Arnon Zamora, one of our finest, who fell on this land. The entire nation rejoices in the rescue of the four hostages, restoring our national pride. Yet, the nation mourns deeply for the loss of the brave and beloved warrior and commander, Arnon."
"The name Arnon is mentioned in the Book of Numbers as a landmark in the journey of the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land: 'From there they traveled to the Arnon, which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab.' Arnon fell in a heroic and extraordinary operation, rescuing the four hostages and bringing them back to Israel, the Promised Land, the land of our ancestors."
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