IDF soldier who tragically died of heatstroke during training laid to rest

Hillel Nehemiah Ofen was laid to rest at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem; His parent's eulogy: 'Everything you started and touched was done with the utmost perfection, you had a unique sensitivity of your own'

Gilad Cohen, Roni Green Shaulov|


IDF SOLDIER DIES IN TRAINING AMID INTENSE HEATWAVE

Twenty-year-old Cpl. Hillel Nehemiah Ofen who collapsed and died of heatstroke during a training exercise for the elite Yahalom Engineering Corps unit, was buried Tuesday at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.
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"You were born a year after my mother passed away. You inherited her talents, her radiant beauty. You were a gift when you were born. Everything you started and touched was done with the utmost perfection. You made perfect cookies, excelled in mathematics, and had a unique sensitivity of your own," his mother, Hanital eulogized during the funeral.
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הלל נחמיה אופן
הלל נחמיה אופן
Corporal Hallel Nehamia Ufan
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
"You were born a child full of enchantment. Radiant face, big eyes. You embraced everything with joy. It was very hard to be angry at you and maintain an angry face. As you grew a little, you began to amaze us with your numerous talents. Every Shabbat, you made sure to bring flowers to your mother, even when you returned from the military," his father Boaz said.
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הלווייתו של הלוחם הלל נחמיה אופן ז"ל
הלווייתו של הלוחם הלל נחמיה אופן ז"ל
Hillel's parents, Boaz and Hanital
(Photo: Shalev Shalom)
His brother, Shmaya, said that Hillel fought to join Yahalom after realizing he couldn't become a pilot. "You decided that nothing would stop you. I can't imagine our home without your light."
His sister, Dina, recalled with pride: "You were like a twin to me. There isn't a friend of mine who hasn't heard about you. Right now, I'm trying to find words that will explain how much I love you. No matter how busy you were, you always found time for my antics. I don't know how I'll manage without you."
Col. A, the commander of the Yahalom unit, also mourned Hillel and emphasized that the incident is under investigation. "We are committed to continuing to investigate. Hillel was a young man filled with motivation to contribute, influence and lead. He successfully completed his training and volunteered in service to the unit. He was a cheerful person, with a burst of contagious laughter, humble and cared for everyone. He was a central figure in the platoon and the division, and his fellow soldiers describe him as an upright person, someone who doesn't cut corners and was always at the forefront of everything," he said.
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הלווייתו של הלוחם הלל נחמיה אופן ז"ל
הלווייתו של הלוחם הלל נחמיה אופן ז"ל
Cpl. Hillel Nehemiah Ofen is laid to rest at Mount Herzl ilitary cemetery
(Photo: Shalev Shalom)
Hillel's father noted that the family is not involved in the investigation into his death during the training. "We know that there are individuals who are experts in investigations and know how to draw conclusions, that's their profession. I truly hope that their goal is to learn lessons from it and to corrects what needs to be corrected, and not to scapegoat the front-line personnel, the individuals who are out in the field and dedicate their lives every day," he said.
He was attended to by medical personnel on-site and his death was confirmed after resuscitation efforts. The military police initiated an investigation into the circumstances of the incident, and upon completion of the investigation the findings will be handed over to the military prosecution for examination.
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הלווייתו של הלוחם הלל נחמיה אופן ז"ל
הלווייתו של הלוחם הלל נחמיה אופן ז"ל
The funeral of Cpl. Hillel Nehemiah Ofen
(Photo: Shalev Shalom)
Preliminary findings indicate that Hillel, who was at an advanced training stage in the special ops Yahalom unit, participated in a crawling exercise approved by a lieutenant colonel. The exercise commenced shortly after midnight following a weather assessment in the area and after heat conditions had restricted training for the previous four days, during which the unit members primarily focused on preparation and rest.
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