"Your son is a hero who fell during voluntary duty. We are very proud of him. He was an exceptional boy," President Shimon Peres told the parents of Staff Sergeant Gal Kobi, who was killed by Palestinian sniper in Hebron on Sunday.
Peres arrived at the Tirat HaCarmel home of Smadar and Ovad Kobi on Friday morning, along with IDF Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brigadier-General Tamir Ydai and Colonel Ofer Vinter, the head of the Givati Brigade, where Kobi served.
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The parents said their son had celebrated his 20th birthday in August, loved soccer and traveled to Germany as part of a youth delegation from Tirat HaCarmel. "He loved life very much," Ovad told the president and the senior IDF officers.
'Loved life.' Gal Kobi (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
Peres said: "From my experience over the years, only after the son falls do you learn about his wonderful qualities. The fallen are not people who boast and babble. They are usually shy, and only after (they are killed) their friends reveal their amazing personality."
During the visit, the president addressed the IDF's activity in Hebron and mentioned that by signing various agreements over the years "we succeeded in keeping all the holy places in our hands, including the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Jewish settlement (in Hebron) and the road that leads to it.
"This does not change the fact that we are a minority in the area. There is nothing we can do about that, and the sniper took advantage of the fact that he could hide among the civilian population," said the president.
"If we wish to preserve the holy sites we must continue to take this risk."
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