Shortly after deadly attack on Navy ship operating off Beirut shores, Amgar family of Ashdod informed their son is okay; next phone call bears different news: Soldier, who was so fond of sea, is missing. His body recovered Saturday
A few minutes after he left for operation, First Sergeant Tal Amgar spoke to his mother Orna. On Saturday morning it turned out this was his last phone call.
Tal, 21, from the city of Ashdod, who was killed Friday evening after an Iranian-made missile hit a missile boat off the shores of Beirut, began his standing army service in the Israel Defense Forces about half a year ago. He came from the Israel Air Force, where he served as an electrician.
Three soldiers are still missing following Hizbullah's attack on the Israeli Navy boat:
Sergeant Yaniv Herschkowitz, 21, of Haifa
Corporal Shai Atias, 19, of Rishon Lezion
Master Sergeant Dov Sternshus, 37, of Carmiel
Tal Amgar's family members and friends gathered around his parents' home, mourning and shocked by his death.
"He was a quiet guy who didn't talk a lot, he got along with everyone and loved to travel. All he wanted was to complete his military service and leave the country's borders," one of his friends said.
Uri Azulay, a relative, said that shortly after 10 p.m. on Friday, an Air Force representative called the family home to calm them down: "Don’t worry, don't be afraid. Tal is okay, his missile boat wasn't hit."
The family was relieved, but only for a short while. At 2 a.m., representatives of the Ministry of Defense arrived at the family home and informed the parents that their son was missing. Only five hour later the family received the terrible news: Their son's body was identified inside the boat hit by Hizbullah.
'Dedicated to country'
Azulay said that “with his last two paychecks he bought highly advanced surfing gear, which is still packed in his room at home. His parents knew he was out at sea and were hoping everything would turn out well.”
Another relative, Haim Cohen, described Tal as “a little disciplined angel who was dedicated to the country.” Cohen said that Tal was set to be released six months ago, “but gave up his discharge vacation and answered the call to enlist as a career officer. He specialized in electronics and was assigned to an IAF unit that provided services to other corps.”
Friends said that Tal loved to surf, especially in the Kinneret, and that he was planning to go out on a picnic with friends this Saturday. “All the preparations for the picnic were already made, but we called everything off when he was called for the military operation,” a friend said.
Tal is survived by his parents, Ilan and Orna, and two seven and 17-year-old sisters.
Waiting for word on Dov and Yaniv
Members of the Sternshus family in Karmiel are still anxiously awaiting word regarding the fate of First Sergeant Dov, a 37-year-old aerial crew staff member who was stationed on the ship and is missing since a missile hit the boat Saturday.
Dov’s wife and his three children, along with many family member, friends and town members who came to show their support, are waiting at the family house for news and updates.
“Dov is a guy everyone can rely on for help,” one of the town’s residents said.
The Herschkowitz family received the news that their son is missing Saturday morning. A neighbor said that upon hearing that Yaniv went missing after the strike on Friday she tried to cheer his father up, but he told her “there is no chance” Yaniv is still alive.
“He is a lovely, beautiful, gifted boy. He was a top student in high school, always used to smile and say ‘hello’ and ‘good morning’,” the neighbor described.
Attila Somfalvi and Ahiya Raved contributed to the report