Giora Ron – 26.4.1960-7.6.1982

Giora – a young man of grace and respect. A passionate runner his entire life, he was killed on the first day of battle of the First Lebanon War in 1982. Giora was the son of Ruti and Eli, who were among the founders of Kibbutz Ein Gedi, and was one of the first children born on the kibbutz.

In 1960, the year that Giora was born, Kibbutz Ein Gedi was still thought of as a commune on the other side of the world, far from clinics and hospitals. This caused his mother, as she neared her time to give birth, to make her way to Kiryat Haim, where Giora's grandparents lived, and where Giora spent the first month of his life. The return home, which was too long and complicated to make by car, was undertaken in a Piper aircraft.

Giora grew and was educated amongst a small group of children, studying in his kibbutz home for nine years. Afterwards he completed his studies at the high school in Arad. After a long day at school and an exhausting ride home, he would change into his sports clothes and head out for a training run – day in, day out. As a student of distinction, he was chosen to represent his school on a youth visit hosted by the Jewish community in London.

With the completion of his studies, Giora spent a year volunteering in Kiryat Ekron, guiding the local youth. The year was formative in his personal development. New worlds opened up before him: painting, music, literature and philosophy – in addition to running, his daily bread. That year also revealed the beauty of friendship, and deep relationships were formed with his fellow volunteers. It was a period in which he flourished, but this was brought to an end in 1979 with his recruitment to the IDF.

Giora joined the Nachal Brigade and served as a paratrooper. Although army life stifled him, he was an outstanding soldier throughout his service. Nevertheless, he was continually aware that the army was separating him from more spiritual and cultural pursuits. Thus, during home visits, he would wake up early every morning, despite the deep exhaustion he suffered as a combat soldier, in order to enjoy what he loved most. "I can't waste a Shabbat on sleep," he would say.

In February 1980, Giora completed his parachute course, and that summer finished sergeant training. However, the chance to proceed to officer training caused him much consternation: he viewed it as immoral, and claimed that he didn't have – and neither did anyone else – the right to order around or punish his fellow man. Consequently, when he was sent to officer school, he removed himself from the course.

Despite his distaste for military life, he was a beloved commander to his subordinates, and was even selected as a soldier of distinction. On Israel's Independence Day in 1982, he was among the soldiers of distinction invited to the President's Residence.

A few months before his longed-for discharge, the "Peace in the Galilee" (First Lebanon) War broke out, and on 7 June 1982, his company found itself sea-bound for the Lebanese coast. The company landed north of Sidon. As they passed by the village of Ras Nabi-Younus, they were fired upon from one of the homes, on the roof of which flew a white flag. Giora was wounded and killed. He was 22 years old.

And so the life that had just begun to flourish and blossom was brought to an untimely end.