CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Staff Sgt. Dvir Emanueloff, who died of injuries sustained from a mortar shell, was laid to rest Sunday evening at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.
Hundreds of friends braved the late-night cold to join family members at the funeral.
The 22-year-old Golani Brigades soldier was the first casualty in the ground operation of the Gaza war.
Dvir's father died two years ago, after a prolonged illness, and his grandfather passed away just two weeks ago.
On Friday, he had called his mom to say he would probably be going into Gaza.
"Mom, I have to fight. I have to be there," he said. Like every Israeli mother, she was worried about her son's safety.
They spoke for the last time on Saturday evening. She asked if he would be home for Shabbat (the Sabbath) next week. "I don't think so," he told her.
"We will cry for Dvir," his closest childhood friend, Amichai Peretz, said after the funeral. "But the battle is still raging in the South," he said.
"We are pained by his loss, but we are continuing to go forward to fight for this country," his friend said.
"His family knows that his loss was not in vain," he said.
Dvir is survived by his mother, three sisters and a brother.
Sources: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post