Israel announced the death of two soldiers during fighting in the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening. One of those soldiers was reservist Master Sergeant Gal Eisenkot, son of war cabinet minister Gadi Eisenkot, Israel's former IDF chief of staff.
The younger Eisenkot was serving with the 699th Battalion as a combat medic in the Gaza Strip and was reportedly injured by a bomb while operating to clear tunnels in the northern town of Jabaliya. He was evacuated by helicopter to Assuta Hospital in Ashdod, where he was pronounced dead.
His father, Gadi Eisenkot was visiting the 162 Division in Gaza when he was informed of his son’s injury and evacuation to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, the elder Eisenkot was informed that his son had died.
Hebrew news site N12 news reported a quote from Maj.-Gen. Tamir Heiman, former head of Military Intelligence, who said Gadi Eisenkot had told him upon joining the War Cabinet, that he would “conduct the war as if his son was on the front lines of the operation and his daughter was kidnapped in Gaza.” He then stated in his serious matter-of-fact style: “My daughter is not kidnapped, but my son is at the front.”
Israeli leaders were quick to praise Gal and express condolences to Eisenkot and his wife, Hannah.
National Unity party leader, Benny Gantz, former Israeli Defense Minister, was with Eisenkot when he received the news.
“Today, during our patrol at Division 162 headquarters, we received heartbreaking news about the loss of Gal, the son of my dear friend Gadi Eisenkot. Gal did not hesitate and enlisted in the reserves for the country he was raised to love all his life, and which he loved with every fiber of his soul. Together with all the people of Israel, I send a big hug to Gadi and the entire family. Our thoughts and support are with Gadi and the entire family during this difficult time. Let us honor Gal's sacrifice by continuing the noble cause for which he bravely fought.”
Gantz posted a personal message to Gadi Eisenkot on X (formerly Twitter): "Gadi, my brother in arms, my partner and my friend, the heart is broken. On the eve of Hanukkah, Gal's candle went out."
גדי, אחי לנשק, שותפי, חבר.— בני גנץ - Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) December 7, 2023
הלב מרוסק. בערב חנוכה נרו של גל כבה.
החינוך שלך ושל המשפחה כולה, האומץ שלכם, אהבת המולדת, המדינה והמשפחה – כולם היו טבועים בגל.
הוא נפל בשם ועל בסיס הערכים שעליהם תמיד חונך, הוא היה גיבור שלכם, הוא גיבור של עם ישראל כולו, וכך ייזכר לנצח.
כל כך… pic.twitter.com/bBQ1NpDotl
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed deep sorrow with the Eisenkot family.
“Hannah and Gadi Eisenkot, Sara and I are devastated by the loss of your son Gal. We stand by you in this moment of profound grief. Gal was a courageous warrior, a true hero. How great is the pain, how deep is the sorrow. The government of Israel and the citizens of Israel mourn together with you. Our heroes did not fall in vain. We will continue to fight until victory.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, “Gal was educated on the values of love of the country, and unfortunately also fell for them. My heart and thoughts are with all members of the family. May we be worthy of Gal's sacrifice, and of all those who fell in this just war.”
During his daily press briefing on Thursday night, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari said: “On a personal note, I would like to refer to Gal Eisenkot. In one of my roles, I was the assistant of Gadi Eisenkot when he was the chief of the general staff. I knew Gal personally; Gal was the salt of the earth,” Hagari said. “He was determined to fight terrorists in this war alongside his fellow soldiers. Gal is the salt of the earth, may his memory be a blessing.”
Since the start of the ground campaign, 99 soldiers have been killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.