Golani Staff-Sergeant Dvir Emanuelof (22), the first fatality of Operation Cast Lead's ground incursion, was laid to rest at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl Cemetery on Sunday night.
Emanuelof was killed after a mortar shell landed in proximity to his patrol, injuring 19 other soldiers as well. Hundreds of people attended his funeral service.
Emanuelof, a graduate of the Netivot Jewish Seminary, lived in Givat Ze'ev, just northwest of Jerusalem. He was due to end his mandatory service in the IDF in six months.
Final rest. Dvir Emanuelof's casket (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
News of his death swept through the small community long before his mother, Dalia, arrived home – only to meet the IDF's casualties' officers waiting for her with the worse news possible.
Avihai Peretz, a childhood friend of Dvir's told Ynet that "he knew he was fighting for a great cause. He was confident and had faith in the military, in his commanders and in this country. He wasn’t afraid. He wasn't gung-ho to fight, but it was important for him to protect people."
The Emanuelofs have had their share of tragedies over the past few years: Two years ago, the family patriarch died after a long illness and Dvir lost his grandfather a mere two weeks ago.
Hordes of family members and friends arrived at the family's home once news of his death spread, trying to comfort his mother and siblings.
Dvir Emanuelof is survived by his mother and three sisters.
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report