Two soldiers are abducted, eight are killed

BY DAN BARON, JTA

TEL AVIV — Amid the escalating military conflict, Israelis mourned the death of eight more soldiers and grappled with the abduction of two army reservists.

The abducted soldiers were:

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* Ehud Goldwasser, 31, from Nahariya

* Eldad Regev, 26, from Kiryat Motskin

Both were on reserve army duty. They survived the Hezbollah ambush on their border patrol Wednesday, and were dragged into Lebanon. Judging by blood tracks at the scene, Israeli officials believe they are wounded but alive. On Thursday, Israeli officials said they feared that the two could be taken to Iran.

Goldwasser is a student at the Haifa Technion. His parents and brother were abroad when the news of his abduction arrived.

In Kiryat Motskin, dozens of friends and relatives have flocked to the Regev family home to hold prayers for his safe return. He lost his mother to cancer several years ago and lives with one of his siblings.

The soldiers killed in the patrol ambush on Wednesday were:

* Reserve Sgt. Eyal Benin, 22, from Rehovot

An only son, Benin fought to win his parents’ approval that he serve in a combat unit. He was killed on the last day of a two-week tour of reserve patrol duties. He was planning to study law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem this year.

* Reserve Sgt. Shani Turgeman, 24, from Beit Shean

Turgeman had recently returned from a trek across South America and was planning to study design in Tel Aviv. He is survived by his parents, a brother and a sister.

* Reserve Maj. Wassim Nazal, 26, from Yanuch-Jatt

Nazal came from a Druse family that saw distinguished service in the Israeli military. His father lost a leg to a land mine during a tour of duty. An uncle was a career officer in the Border Police. Nazal is survived by a wife and child.

The four crewmen in a tank that went over a mine in southern Lebanon Wednesday were:

* Sgt. Yaniv Bar-On, 20, from Maccabim

Born to a South African father and Canadian mother, Bar-On was remembered by friends as a devoted Zionist. When he first joined the military he wanted to be a fighter pilot, but settled for the role of tank crewman.

* Sgt. Alex Kushnirsky, 21, from Ness Ziona

Kushnirsky moved to Israel from the former Soviet Union with his family in 1990. He recently got engaged, and sent his fiancee an SMS message — “I love you” — minutes before being sent on the doomed rescue mission. He is survived by his parents and younger sister.

* Sgt. Shlomi Yirmiyahu, 20, from Rishon le-Zion

Yirmiyahu enjoyed his military service, refusing to seek a medical waiver despite persistent back problems. He is survived by his parents and two younger brothers.

* Sgt. Gadi Musayeb, 20, from Acre

A champion basketball player in high school, Musayed saw his service in the armored corps as part of a family tradition. His elder sister recently finished a tour of active duty in Gaza. His father works in the arms industry and his mother is a caregiver for the elderly.

Killed while trying to extricate the tank crew was:

* Sgt. Nimrod Cohen, 19, from Mizpe Shalem

The eldest of two sons born to founders of Mizpe Shalem, a kibbutz near the Dead Sea, Cohen volunteered to help underprivileged children in his free time. While in high school he participated in the March of the Living in Poland.