Hundreds of people gathered at the Netzer Hazani synagogue Monday afternoon for the funeral of 20-year-old IDF Sergeant Shlomo Rindenow, a lone soldier from the US who died in a hand grenade explosion Sunday.
Rindenow was killed along with First Sergeant Hussam Tapesh, who was buried earlier Sunday in his hometown of Beit Jan in northern Israel.
The incident, which occurred as the soldiers were patrolling the northern border with Syria, is still under investigation.
Earlier Monday, Rindenow's family called on the Israeli public to attend his funeral, having vowed he would be buried in the country he served.
"For most of the course of his (army) service my brother was alone," his brother Jeff said. "He volunteered to the army because he wanted to be a warrior. We are requesting that at least for his final departure he won't be alone."
Many responded to the call, flocking from around the country to escort the fallen soldier to his final resting place at the nearby Netzer Hazani-Yesodot cemetery.
The Rabbi of Netzer Hazani eulogized first:
"If you could say a few words to us, I think it would be to quote the verse "You shall choose life". We Israelis had the advantage of being born here, but you had the merit of both being born here and making Aliyah. This reflected the love you had for Israel, which compelled you to leave the US to volunteer to defend the land of Israel."
Sister Yocheved: "You were wise like your namesake, King Shlomo, wise beyond your years. More mature than all of us. You loved us all so much, and I'm so sorry for what happened to you. When Shlomo joined the army, we weren't even as worried as you would think. He was so responsible that we just assumed he'd be safe whatever he did.
"You taught us how to live with a pure and open heart. We love you so so much. Thank you for being my brother."
Brother Baruch: "I wish I had the proper words to honor you. People always said how much you were like me. But I don't know what they're talking about, the brother I knew was so awesome that I could never hope to match him.
"Shlomo would get into his head that he wanted to do things and then he'd just do them. He decided to come to Israel, learn Hebrew within a few months, and get into the unit in the army he wanted. And he did it. I admired him so much, and I don't think I even told him that. I told other people, I bragged about my brother, but I'm not sure if I told him."
Sister Beyla: "You were the young one in the family, the baby. But you never wanted to accept that. You were so mature and wanted to do everything the older siblings were doing. We might have given you a hard time sometimes, but we loved you so so much, because you were our baby. And I miss you so so much, my baby."
Brother Jeff: "Today is a day of tragedy for the family, for the army, and for the Jewish nation everywhere. Shlomo joined the army to follow in the footsteps of four brothers and two sisters who did national service. Shlomo, you always smiled, you always were there to help whoever needed it. You could have done a shorter term of service as part of the diaspora volunteer program, but you decided to do the full three years. You will always be an example to all of us, to your brothers and sisters, and everyone who knew you."