First Sergeant Tomer Ya'akov Ahimes was laid to rest in the military section of the Lehavim cemetery in the south. Ahimes fell in battle on October 7 and was listed as missing on Tuesday. After an examination and all the findings, the Chief Military Rabbi determined that Ahimes had fallen in battle, and IDF representatives gave his family the worst news of all.
Lehavim residents, friends and acquaintances, created an exciting chain of flags dozens of meters long on the road leading to the cemetery, in order to convey a message of great respect to the dear and beloved fallen of the community. In addition, the school day at Eshel Hanasi High School was shortened in order to allow students and educational staff to take part in the initiative. Meanwhile, a number of social events and the council meeting were canceled.
Many eulogies were delivered at the funeral - an IDF representative said: "My dear Tomer, we first met when you arrived at the brigade in the Gaza Division. A serious and motivated man. From the very first days it was clear that you were a fighter. Immediately the discussion arose about who would earn you as part of the command team. In the end, it was clear that you would reach the best command team – the brigade commander's team, where you proved your extraordinary personality, full of values and courage.
"On 7/10 you were first on a mission, first in battle – you came first to the front and fought face to face with a cruel enemy. You protected the kibbutz of Nirim with your body and prevented a greater disaster. It is not surprising that you were the first – both in the Scouts you were like this in front of your campers – and in your last days.
"It's impossible to describe who you were to us"
"Quite a few people came to say goodbye to you today, family, friends and acquaintances, as well as cadets from an officers' course who came to hear about your character and work.
"The dear Ahims family – Moshe and Anat, sisters Gil and Maya, brothers Eyal and Amir, spouse Shai-Li – words offer no consolation in the face of this great loss and do not ease the terrible pain at this difficult time. We, the Israel Defense Forces and the Southern Brigade, are asked to share in your heavy mourning. May you know no more sorrow."
Honor on his way in Tomer's last way,
Or Azaria, Tomer's friend, eulogized him: "Tomer, our brother – the founder of the group. Listen, we still can't digest the situation. From 7:10 the heart and head work separately – the head is busy with the task, and the heart does not give a moment of silence, knowing that you have not yet answered: for two months now we have been hopeful and full of purpose, what have we not done,
we called every number in the division and turned over every stone in Gaza – every conversation began with the question of what about Tomer. And yesterday we already knew how to answer the question.
"Thomas – we stand here around you and summarize years of experiences, laughs and countless moments. Who else will we fight with in football - the toughest player in Friday football, and at every party in Israel they saw the ugly shirt of "Inter". And apropos of a party – who will drive us to the next party, the constant driver who ruins the atmosphere.
The truth is, it sounds like another conversation in one of the weekend summaries at the Ahimes family home, in which we talk about everything, over Anat's banana cake.
It's impossible to describe who you were to us – you could always be talked about everything and it was always clear that you would give the truest advice. So what, Thomas? The friend of all the commanders, you excelled in everything, in everything you touched – tennis years ago, best in school – without studying, best with girls – because you are the handsomest, until someone grabbed your heart, and now she is part of our family.
"It's great that a week before it all started we were at a party together. Thank you for everything bro, you were with us in everything and how can we go on without you? It's a nightmare we haven't woken up from yet. It's a friendship that doesn't depend on anything. Dear Ahimes family - we promise you here that we will always be by your side, and we will embark on a personal and joint journey - he will always be with us, at sunset and sunrise. We'll stay 12 forever."
"The friend of all the commanders, you excelled in everything, in everything you touched – tennis years ago, best in school – without studying, best with girls – because you're the handsomest, until someone grabbed your heart, and now she's part of our family."
Tomer's partner, Shai Li: "My Tomer, I can't believe I'm standing here. I thought we'd be together forever, but I didn't think eternity was so close. You are a ray of light on a dark day, my most loving hug – my morning, lunch and dinner. My expectation every weekend is just to hug you. Your every "good morning" made my morning really good. You're everything—you've always said I've taught you to love, but you've taught me what true love is. We were together for 9 months, each day of which was better than the last. Every night we ended up with an hour-long conversation, even though we talked all day. I would tell you that I was afraid that I loved you too much, and you said that you were afraid that you loved more than I did.
"There are not enough words in the world to explain our connection – love at first sight. I fell in love with your laughter, your cynicism, the way you see things. By having an answer to my every question, standing your ground, by your perseverance to wear football shirts everywhere. I look up to you, you are my hero, you changed me, you supported me, you made me a better person, because only you really knew me. You always knew what to say to leave me speechless, because now I really ran out of words. You would always find the positive and tell me to hope for the best. And so it was – 52 days of anticipation. You will forever be connected to me and I to you, I will forever be yours, you will always be the embodiment of happiness and perfection. You are the definition of a real man, love you 3,000 and forever. Thank God you were a part of me."
"Unfortunately, the butterfly heralded that you are not alive"
Tomer's grandfather, Zvi, said: "We say goodbye to our dear Tomer, Tomer – the heart refuses to believe. A 20-year-old soldier in the IDF, fell on his guard defending Kibbutz Nirim. We are a tribe, a big family – strong and loving. The will we give ourselves is to continue even after the terrible tragedy. With all the grandchildren, we created a warm and loving system. It is hard to describe the experience of mowing the lawn by the twins – Tomer and his brother Amir. They spoke twins from the day they were born. Tomer, our dear grandson, we love you so much, you will be missed – but I want to say: I can't help but cry out from his grave: Give us worthy leaders."
Sister Maya: "My Tomer, my little brother, my heroic brother. I debated whether to write to you before Shabbat, but I woke up with a sharp pain in my stomach, and realized that this was the bitter reality that was hitting. On 3.10 I celebrated my birthday, that day I saw a missed call from you – you immediately answered me when there was a strong wind around you, and said: "Maya, my life, I wanted to say congratulations to you and wish your pregnancy to pass easily".
"That was our last call, and four days later came the black day. I woke up and sent you a message – "My life is in my heart, take care of yourself." I hoped so much that she would come back to me and say, "I'm fine." For 54 days we have been going through hell - we were a family of a kidnapped - and yesterday we became a family of fallen. I tried to hold on to hope, to raise your signs with my face, to sit on sidewalks in the hostage square, to shout with all my might. So many people prayed for you that it would end differently. 54 days that life runs in front of my eyes.
I remember being 10 years old, during a break – when they told me I was a sister of four, because I had twin brothers. There's no one who doesn't know you, always together – screaming loudly, playing Sony until I yelled at you. You enlisted, and this is the first time you've really said goodbye. The fear that something will happen to you has always accompanied me. You are both fighting valiantly.
For several weeks now I have been seeing a white butterfly near the house, it accompanies me and I knew it was you. I hoped that the butterfly was signaling to me that even though you are in captivity, your soul is free, and soon a miracle will happen. Unfortunately, the butterfly heralded that you were not alive."
Big brother, Eyal: "My little brother, on 7.10 you closed Shabbat and you were bombed. There are reports that you fought until the last moment and sacrificed your life to defend the State of Israel. I hope the army will do everything possible to bring you back with the other abductees. I was blessed to have you happy in my bottom. But you won't get to see your nephew. I was privileged to see you grow up to be the smartest, most sensitive, goofy and kindest. I tried to always be there to direct and wake up when needed. I want to ask your forgiveness, Tomer, that I was not there to protect you. I miss it endlessly."
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