Saturday, March 01, 2008

Family and friends pay respects to soldiers who fell in Gaza

Dozens of friends arrived on Saturday evening at the family home of 20-year-old Staff Sergeant Eran Dan-Gur, one of the two Givati Brigade soldiers killed in an Israel Defense Forces operation in the northern Gaza Strip earlier in the day.

Dan-Gur and fellow Givat Brigade soldier Doron Asulin, also 20, were killed before dawn in two separate incidents of fire exchange with militants near the Jabaliya refugee camp.

Both soldiers were posthumously raised in rank from sergeant to staff sergeant.

Dan-Gur lived in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem and was a graduate of the Ort Collegiate high school. His mother Miri, with whom he lived, described her son as a "prodigy."

Last weekend, Dan-Gur was supposed to head out for a holiday weekend at a zimmer with his girlfriend Limor, but due to the rising tensions in Gaza, he remained on the base and the vacation was canceled.

His close friend, Erez Cohen, said: "He was a golden person. He was sharp in school, both a genius and popular. He was a good and nice person, a good friend who helped anywhere he could."

Dan-Gur is survived by two smaller brothers, his mother and his father Reuven, of Ramat Gan.

'He was not afraid'

Meir Asulin, the father of the second IDF soldier to be killed in Gaza on Saturday, described his son as being enthralled with the army and unafraid to carry out his missions.

"I spoke with Doron yesterday. He told me he was going on a tour of the outlying regions and would probably be entering Gaza tomorrow [Saturday]. I told him, 'Doron, take care of yourself.' He said to me, 'Dad, it will be all right.' He was not afraid.

Asulin served in the Givati Brigade, reaching the unit after a long path.

Initially, in March of 2006, he was recruited to become a naval officer, but was dissatisfied with the prospects of his service. After that he transferred to the Duvdevan unit, and from there to the Givati Brigade.

"He was enthralled by the army, he wanted to be a combat soldier," his aunt said.

Doron's father added that his son had served a year and a half in basic training until he found his niche in the army. "Before he went into Gaza he was ready for the mission," said Meir. "He told me, "Abba we need to get in there, we can't go on like this."

Asulin's parents are divorced. His mother and three of his siblings live in Ashdod, and his father lives in Be'er Sheva. Asulin studied in the Amit Yeshiva in Be'er Sheva. His father described him as a karate enthusiast who loved to travel and fish.

Asulin's relatives and comrades gathered at his father's Be'er Sheva home on Saturday.

His comrades could provide only bits of information about the incident in which Asulin was killed.

"They went into the houses, and apparently someone started shooting from one of the house, that's what we do know," said one of the soldiers.

"Believe me," his aunt wept. "He was a hero, not a shirker - they just surprised him."


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