The Ohr Torah Stone family mourns the tragic loss of Major Yochai Kalangel, z”l, a graduate of the OTS Derech Avot High School in Efrat, who was killed in yesterday’s ambush on the Lebanese border.
A 25-year-old Company Commander in the Givati Brigade, Kalangel fell alongside Staff-Sergeant Dor Haim Nini, 20, when Hezbollah antitank missiles struck their IDF patrol vehicle in the northern Mount Dov region along the border with Lebanon.
“Yochai was my student, he graduated seven and a half years ago,” recalls his former teacher, Naama Tal Cohen-Landau. “He was the type of student you never forget… He had good values and exuded happiness, he was loved by all his friends… it was clear to all who met him – including me – that this was a person who would go far,” she writes.
“It came as no surprise that last Yom Ha’atzmaut Yochai was awarded a commendation of excellence from the Chief of General Staff in a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem,” says Rabbi Shlomo Vilk, Rosh Yeshivat Hesder Machanaim and former principal of Derech Avot. “He was a fighter, a real hero. He had tremendous integrity and very strong morals. Everyone loved him… he was a wonderful boy.”
Yochai’s funeral was attended by thousands of people this morning, 9 Shvat 5775 (29/2/15), at the Har Herzl Military Cemetery.
Our hearts go out to his grieving family: His wife, Tali, and daughter, Elinor; his parents, Malka and Yosi; and his siblings, Elior, Amir, Tamir, Shai and Shir.
May his memory be a blessing and an inspiration for us all.