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“He was my other half. My heart kept beating for his sake.” Iren Shavit could never have imagined that this was how her story of love with Netta would end. They met 18 months earlier at a bar in Kibbutz Nir Am, and moved in together in Netta’s birthplace, Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

When the sirens began sounding, the two entered the apartment safety room but quickly realized that this was a large-scale attack. Netta had already received the terrible news of his grandmother’s murder before terrorists broke into their tiny apartment.

Managing to force the protective room’s door open, they tossed a grenade inside. Without a moment of hesitation, Netta threw himself onto it, saving Iren’s life.

A mere month prior to his death, Netta completed and was discharged from his military service as a paratrooper. He had plans to travel, study and conquer the world. In 2018, at age 17, Netta was one of the leaders of the “Let us Live in Peace” protest held by youth from the Gaza periphery suffering from the ongoing missile attacks. The protest saw thousands of youths from the Gaza periphery marching to the Knesset in Jerusalem. Netta was also an excellent athlete; when he was younger, he had been the Hapoel Beer Sheva goalkeeper, and was a fan of both Beitar Jerusalem, and Liverpool. As his 22nd birthday approached, which would have been on November 9, Iren arranged a surprise, booking tickets to the Liverpool game, a birthday gift he would never enjoy.

With Netta’s sacrifice, he showed the dedication, love, integrity, bravery and respectfulness with which so many Israelis are raised.

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