A former member of the Givati Brigade’s Rotem Battalion, in which Staff Sergeant Gabriel Kobi – shot in the course of routine security duty in Hebron on Sunday – served, offers a personal tribute to the young man he never knew.

By Ido Antar

“Yesterday evening, the name of the soldier killed in Hebron was released to the public – Staff Sergeant Gabriel Kobi, who served in the Rotem Battalion of the Givati Brigade.

I didn’t know him.

Two years have passed since I was released, and he only then enlisted.

I won’t be at the funeral, and I probably also won’t attend the shiva. I will not be reciting the mourner’s Kaddish.

Today, I will go for a run like every other day, and I will go to the gym like every other day. But instead of wearing a Nike or Adidas shirt like on a normal day, I pulled out from the depths of my closet the shirt of the Rotem battalion.

Every person that I pass by on my run – I will point behind me with my thumb so that they will all know. So that they’ll know that the IDF (Zahal) as a whole, and the Rotem Battalion in particular, are strong, tough, and remember every single fighter. That’s my small tribute for all to see.

But not so that they’ll be proud of me – but rather proud of him.

If this post happens to reach Staff Sergeant Gabriel Kobi’s family, know that your dear one was a courageous hero, there is no other like him, he will always be remembered in a heroic light earned by so few. With all the pain and sorrow, he was killed for a hallowed goal, in defense of the homeland.

To the lowly terrorist who did this – I trust and am certain that your whereabouts are known, and indeed very likely that you’ve already been caught. I hope very much that you get what you deserve.

I personally, and all the fighters from the November 2006 cycle of the Rotem Battalion, Givati Brigade, send our warm embrace and comfort to the grieving family. And to Gabriel, we value and appreciate every minute and every moment, may your soul be bound up in the bond of life, forever.

With great respect, I salute you.”