The family of Staff Sergeant Gal Keidan, who was killed a week ago in the terror attack in Ariel Junction, speak for the first time of their fallen brother and son - a talented musician who sought to distinguish himself as a soldier, and who was taken from them in an instant.
The 19-year-old died when a Palestinian attacker grabbed his gun as he patrolled a junction near the West Bank settlement of Ariel, and shot him with it at point blank range. The terrorist later shot and killed Rabbi Achaid Ettinger, a 47-year-old father of 12.
Keidan is survived by his parents, Marina and Anatoli, and his two older siblings, Erez and Alona.
When he enlisted, Gal's family said, he wished to utilize his knowledge of computers and serve in a cyber unit, and was disappointed when he was assigned to the Artillery Corps, to the extent that he was uncertain of his future in the IDF.
"I told him that if he wanted to live in Israel, it was important to serve in the military," says his mother, Marina. "It stays with you your whole life and have can a negative impact in ways you cannot imagine."
And so two weeks after enlisting, Gal decided to devote himself to his military service, and worked to become a commander.
"Gal was always the best at what he did," says his brother Erez. "He said if I'm here (in the Artillery Corps), then I will be the best at it."
"Military service gave him a lot but he was willing to give twice as much," says his sister Alona. "From an honor roll student and a great musician he became a devoted soldier and a responsible commander."
"He said he was truly satisfied with what he was doing and where he was," says his mother. "He loved the independence, the responsibility of being a commander. He talked about life after the army, academic studies, a trip."
"This is a terrible missed opportunity," says his sister, "If he could have completed his military service, the sky would have been the limit."
Keidan and his girlfriend Nitsan Sabag were together for four years, and were practically inseparable.
"We loved to do everything together," says Sabag, who is now in officer training school. "He knew that I was here for him. He really wanted to become a commander. He understood that as he progressed up the ranks, he would lose influence on his subordinates, so he wanted to be as close to them as possible. One of his officers said `I need officers like Gal, but I also need commanders like him.'"
Nitsan is also grateful to Gal's comrades for giving him what she says was the best year of his life.
"I thank all of his friends for the time they were with him," she says. "He truly flourished in the army and he loved each and every one of them deeply. When I was with them I wanted to hug them forever. I would tell them that Gal was lucky to have them and they told me that they were lucky to have him. Gal is probably saying to himself: `I'm so happy that my last year was like this`.
"There is no right age to die, and 19 is surely too young. But I'm certain he is saying, 'I'm happy that this how is how I lived my life.' I'm sure of that."
Sabag also recalls the fear she felt at the propsect of Gal serving in a combat unit.
"Every soldier swears to sacrifice his or her life. I was at his swearing-in ceremony and when he completed his commander training course, and it always pained me to hear him vowing to sacrifice his life. Due to the escalation in the area where Gal served, his fellow soldiers were deployed and I told him that I was a little afraid. He told me, `Now it is our turn. I know it is difficult for you to hear this, but if have to I'm willing to die`. I knew that he meant what he said," she says.
"The need to take care of himself was not an issue for him, unlike his devotion to his mission," says Nitsan.