A heroic IDF commander and father of three died of wounds sustained during Operation Protective Edge.
IDF Major Hagai Ben Ari, who sustained a critical head injury during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in the summer of 2014, died of his wounds on Tuesday, almost two and a half years after a Hamas sniper shot him.
Hagai Ben Ari, 31, the father of three children, was serving as commander of training for the Maglan Special Forces unit when the counter-terror operation against Hamas commenced. At the time, he was on leave but chose to join his men and lead them into Gaza.
He never regained consciousness.
Ben Ari had been in line to become the next commander of the elite Paratrooper’s Reconnaissance Unit, and was symbolically promoted to the post after his injury.
He was the 68th Israeli soldier to fall in the line of duty while fighting to protect Israeli civilians from Hamas terrorism during Operation Protective Edge. A total of 73 Israelis died during that war.
Speaking to IDF Radio, Ben Ari’s brother Noam said that “while they are experiencing great pain, there is a sense that he [Hagai] has been redeemed from his suffering. His injury was so severe; these were two and half years during which he fought for his life. Yesterday, at the end of the day, it really ended.”
He will be buried in his hometown of Nov, a religious community in the Golan Heights.