Master Sergeant Kfir Okhayon
Fought to be on combat duty
By Joe Kott, writer for “Yediot Aharonot” 18.April-04
“Perhaps it is not my Kfir, check again, perhaps it’s not him” – so cried yesterday Yael, mother of Master Sergeant Kfir Okhayon (20), border patrol (MAGAV) fighter who was killed yesterday in the attack in Erez checkpoint.
The city of Eilat was in deep mourning yesterday, when the death of Kfir was announced. His father, Avi, was in the synagogue when the army officers arrived with the grave news, and was called back home. Kfir was the eldest of Yael and Avi’s five kids, the youngest of whom is only 4 months old. His brother Roi was drafted only last week to the army. After having finished his studies in the “Alin” high school in Eilat, Kfir was drafted and conducted a long struggle in order to join a combat unit. “When he made it to combat duty he was the happiest”, said his cousin Shai Khamo yesterday. “Just two days ago he asked his officer to be transferred to a special unit, for an even more active combat task”.
Kfir was in his parent’s house during “Leil Haseder”, and then returned to his unit. On Saturday night his mother spoke to him on the telephone. The last person to speak to him was his friend Eliran Khayak, just one hour before the attack. “I am on duty, everything is quiet” he said to him.
Last Thursday Kfir was involved in an incident which left an impression on him. One of the Arab workers passing through the checkpoint refused to lift his shirt to show that he did not have a bomb belt, and so Kfir aimed his gun at him. One of the officers on duty reprimmanded him, removed him from the spot and warned him that an investigation might be conducted against him. Kfir later told his cousin Shai about the incident: “I’m under pressure, the military police might open a file on me. When the Arab refused to lift his shirt I aimed my gun at him in order to stop him from coming to Israel and killing children”. “Since that incident Kfir was so worried he could not sleep”, said his father yesterday. “Perhaps, if he was not so worried because of the previous incident, he would have shot the terrorist yesterday and lived.”
His funeral was conducted in the military cemetery in Eilat.