An IDF commando from the Golani unit, 21-year-old Amit Ben Ygal, was killed by a Palestinian terrorist Monday night, while in the line of duty.
In 2000, Golani soldiers wrote an ode, as it were, about what it means to be a “Golanchik” — the nickname for Golani soldiers. Last year, on Memorial Day, Amit posted the following version of what it means to be a Golanchik from his perspective:
“To be a Golanchik means to look at the view out of the window of the bus and to know that you marched there as well.
It means to train using cardboard targets and to wait for the real thing already.
It means to curse the moment in which you are living and at the same time to remember why you are here.
To be a Golanchik means to sit with all your equipment and just waiting, and to look at one another in the eyes and to just laugh because you both are thinking the same exact thing.
It means deep friendships but continuously revealing more about the other.
It means to look at the soldiers with the red berets (paratroopers) with red in your eyes. (DL – there is a fierce competition between the two units)
To be a Golanchik means not looking back because at the forefront of your mind you always know that there is an entire state behind you.
To be a Golanchik means not to allow who you are to get in the way of who you can be.
I am Amit Ben Ygal and I am proud to be a Golanchik.
I am proud to be part of a years-old tradition like being in Golani.
I am proud to be the continuation of the many Golani units that came before me and to be a role model for those that will come after me.
Every year for as long as I can remember, something very strong grabbed at my heart on Memorial Day.
I cannot remember even one ceremony which did not end with tears in my eyes,
because something really touched me,
something really stirred in my heart,
something truly took my heart out with force, gave it a wack, and returned it back inside of me.
These last two years I have commemorated the Memorial Day ceremony differently than it was as a civilian.
Now I am in the role of a soldier in uniform with a beret and a badge which represents something.
Suddenly words have meaning and actions have consequences, and you put everything upon yourself, and if God forbid something happens, and if something will happen to you what will happen…
And then suddenly a waterfall from every side of the eye slowly comes down and washes my face.
I accept this sharp blow of…
You have a family at home that is waiting for you,
for the noise that you bring with you,
for the jokes around the table,
for your clothing and towels on the floor,
and a kiss on the head for mom,
and to call Dad to tell him you are on the way home and to hear how emotional he is in his voice even if you just saw him an hour ago,
and most importantly to see that you are okay and that all is good.’
And the waterfall becomes a flood,
And the throat itches,
Deep breaths to stop the tears.
After all, you are in uniform…
I want to turn to every single person who reads this post,
Take a moment of quiet, turn on a calming song that you love, close your eyes, and focus on one of the 23,741 who have fallen.
Close your eyes and see him in front of you.
And allow the emotions to take you wherever they take you.”
* * *
Today that soldier is you.
All citizens of Israel will imagine you in front of us.
An only child.
Just 21-years old.
Killed by a Palestinian terrorist after completing an arrest of two other terrorists in order to protect us.
Amit, you sacrificed your life to make sure these evil terrorists would not attack, hurt and murder any more of your people.
We imagine you in front of us and we see a hero – who died for his people and his country.
May your family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may your memory always be a source of blessing and inspiration.