Head commander of the Bedouin Reconnaissance Unit, Itamar Gadir, talks about the loss of his cousin, Ayman, who was killed 12 years ago.
Illusion Photo Credit: Channel 2 News
Every year, many Bedouin young men decide to volunteer for combat service in the IDF. As a result, the Bedouin community has become an essential part of the bereaved community. Major Itamar Gadir, head of the Bedouin Reconnaissance Unit, lost his cousin Ayman Gadir al-Maksur in the “armoured personnel carrier (APC) tragedy” in 2004. 12 years later, he returns to the same sad day, when his cousin was killed right in front of his eyes. “Ayman was a childhood friend, we grew up together. We were in the same class until senior year,” recalled Itamar. “We volunteered together for the IDF and completed all the combat training together. We were best friends.”
In 2004, Itamar was a team commander at the IDF’s officer training course and his unit was called upon in order to assist the Bedouin Reconnaissance Unit, where Ayman was still serving. After Ayman began his mission along the border, one of Itamar’s soldiers asked him to explain what type of activities Ayman was conducting.
Ayman Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit/Channel 2 News
“My soldiers were curious, so we went outside and observed the activities with binoculars,” Itamar explained. “It was about a kilometer and a half from us. I started to explain to them about the mission, what every vehicle was doing and what Ayman was doing. Suddenly, we heard an explosion. Everything was dust. We immediately understood that Ayman’s APC was hit by an anti-tank missile.”
“The incident is still with me today. I remember that it was a difficult night for me, I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t tell my family immediately that I witnessed the incident,” said Itamar. “To this day, when his mother sees me, she gasps and begins to cry sometimes.”
According to Itamar, it is very important to commemorate the fallen Bedouin soldiers. “In our battalion, we commemorate all the fallen soldiers, we have a memorial room in which we invested a lot of money,” explained Itamar. “We make sure to meet with the bereaved families once a year. I personally really miss Ayman. I wish he was alive today, he would be the happiest to see me as the battalion commander.”