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We Should Not Forget: August attacks near Eilat

On Thursday, August 18, eight Israelis — including two soldiers — were killed by terrorists in a series of attacks near Eilat, along Israel’s border with Egypt.  A ninth victim was killed by a rocket attack on Saturday, August 20.

We remember each one:

■ Chief Warrant Officer Pascal Avrahami, 49, of Jerusalem was born in France and moved to Israel in 1977. He joined the Border Police YAMAM (the Israeli SWAT Unit), in 1985 and was trained as a fighter and sniper. Avrahami was a legendary sharpshooter and was the police force’s elite anti-terror unit’s most veteran sniper. A decorated officer, he was awarded the police medal of valor in 1990 and in 1995 received the medal of distinguished service. Avrahami was killed by terrorist fire near the Egyptian border while Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz briefed journalists nearby. Shortly before he was killed, he was photographed alongside them.

Relatives stand near the bodies of sisters Flora Gez and Shula Kralinsky and their husbands Moshe Gez and Dov Kralinsky during their funeral in the central town of Kfar Saba August 21, 2011. The four were killed on Thursday, when gunmen whom Israel said came from the Gaza Strip and crossed into its territory near the Red Sea resort of Eilat via Egypt's Sinai peninsula, killed eight people in attacks on a desert road. REUTERS/ Nir Elias

■ Flora Gez, 52, of Kfar Sava was on her way to a vacation in Eilat along with her husband Moshe and her sister and brother-in-law, Shulamit and Dov Karlinsky. All four were killed when terrorists opened fire on their vehicle on Route 12 near the border with Egypt. They were heading south when the border highway was blocked by gunmen who shot them each at point-blank range, an eyewitness said. Family and friends related that the two sisters were also close friends who worked together in a daycare center for three- and four-year-old children in Kfar Sava. The sisters had just returned from a trip abroad, and their husbands surprised them with a vacation in Eilat. Flora Gez was buried in Kfar Sava. She is survived by three children.

■ Moshe Gez, 53, of Kfar Sava was Flora Gez’s husband. He too was on his way to a vacation in Eilat along with Flora’s sister and brother-in-law, Shulamit and Dov Karlinsky, when terrorists opened fire on their vehicle on Route 12 near the border with Egypt. Moshe had a home renovation business. His eldest daughter Vicki said of her father: “I will always remember your smile and your warm-heartedness. Your relationship with Mom was a model for me.” Moshe Gez was buried alongside his wife in Kfar Sava.

■ Dov Karlinsky, 58, of Kfar Sava was on his way to a vacation in Eilat along with his wife Shula and her sister and brother-in-law, Flora and Moshe Gez. All four were killed when terrorists opened fire on their vehicle on Route 12 near the border with Egypt. Dov Karlinsky was driving. Dov was a sales manager in a car leasing company. He was active in the Israel Labor Party, particularly in social issues. He was buried in Kfar Sava. He is survived by two children and two grandchildren.

■ Shulamit (Shula) Karlinsky, 54, of Kfar Sava was on her way to a vacation in Eilat along with her husband Dov and her sister and brother-in-law Flora and Moshe Gez. All four were killed when terrorists opened fire on their vehicle on Route 12 near the border with Egypt. Collegues and parents at the day care center where she worked with Flora Gez held both sisters in high esteem. Shulamit Karlinsky was buried alongside her husband in Kfar Sava.

■ Yosef Levy, 57, of Holon  was driving back home with his wife from a vacation in Eilat when they were ambushed by a terrorist who rained bullets on their vehicle, causing it to skid to a halt and flip over. Yosef was killed and his wife Esther suffered a gunshot wound. Yosef was an employee of Elbit Systems for more than 30 years, and had recently been appointed head of a department. “He was such a good man. The salt of the earth. This is a tremendous loss,” related a cousin. Yosef Levy was buried in Holon. He is survived by his wife Esther, two sons – Eliran, 27 and Ra’anan, 24 – and a daughter, Urel, 17.

■ St-Sgt Moshe Naftali, 22, of Ofra was killed in the first volley of gunfire when his force was attacked by terrorists while on their way to assist a civilian bus that was fired upon by terrorists. The terrorists exploded a roadside bomb at the patrol and opened fire on the troops as they exited the damaged cars. The commander of the Golani Reconnaissance described him as a hero. The second of seven siblings, Moshe graduated from the yeshiva high school in Beit El and studied at Moshav Keshet on the Golan Heights before joining the IDF’s Golani Brigade. He had recently completed the commander’s course and served in one of the IDF’s reconnaissance battalions. His mother said, “My beloved son was dedicated and persistent in everything he did,” said his mother. “He did everything he could for Israel out of pure faith and belief in his actions.” St-Sgt Moshe Naftali was buried at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetary in Jerusalem. He is survived by his parents and six siblings.

■ Yitzhak Sela, 56, of Beersheba was driving an empty bus toward Eilat in order to pick up passengers taking the No. 397 bus from Eilat to Beersheba. A suicide bomber blew himself up next to the front end of the bus, killing Sela instantly and engulfing the bus in flames. The bus exploded and flew into the air. Friends related that Sela had often volunteered for some of the more dangerous routes, including driving around the border with Gaza and south of Hebron. “Yitzhak was one of the most outstanding and esteemed drivers in the Egged branch in Beersheba and his loss is a blow to all of his friends from work and to all who know him, including all the regular riders on the southern lines,” said Avi Friedman, the head of Egged’s southern branch. Yitzhak Sela was buried in Beersheba. He is survived by his wife, four children and three grandchildren.

■ Yossi Shushan, 38, of Ofakim had been at home when he heard that missiles were falling. He went to Beersheba out of concern for his wife, who was visiting her brother there. A piece of shrapnel hit him in the head as he left his car to race for safety after a warning siren rang out. Yossi was employed as an inspector at the Ofakim municipality. A former goalie for Hapoel Ofakim and the Beersheba soccer clubs, he had recently begun coaching the goalies of Beersheba’s youth squad. He and his wife Lilach, in her ninth month of pregnancy, have two daughters and were looking forward to the birth of their first son. Yossi Shushan was buried in Ofakim. He is survived by his wife Lilach and their daughters, ages 7 and 4.

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