Omer Balva Wiki – Omer Balva Biography
Omer Balva was one of more than 300,000 reservists called up by the Israel Defense Forces after declaring war on Hamas following the militant group’s surprise terrorist attack on October 7.
Balva served as a sergeant major and platoon commander in the 9203rd Battalion of the Alexandroni Brigade. “Yesterday, SSGT (res.) Omer Balva, an Artillery Corps reservist, was killed by anti-tank missile fire adjacent to the northern border,” the Israeli military wrote in its Friday bulletin. Balva, a dual Israeli-American citizen and Israeli parents, grew up in Rockville, Maryland, where he attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish School. The school honored the 2019 graduate on social media, noting that he was “an unabashed defender of the State of Israel.” Balva enlisted in the IDF after moving to Israel in 2019, but was in the United States visiting a childhood friend when he was called up for reserve duty earlier this month, NBC 4 Washington reported. He was also a student at Reichman University in Herzliya, Israel, where he was working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics, the university said in announcing his death.
Omer Balva was 22 years old.
Ethan Missner, who was friends with Balva since they were just 6 years old, said he wants him to be remembered as a hero. “I want him to be remembered as extremely selfless and proud of what he did, and as a hero because he is a hero. He was a hero when he was alive. He was a hero before he went to the military because he makes everyone feel amazing,” Missner told NBC 4. Balva had been visiting Missner in the US and the two were spending time together just a few weeks ago before Balva returned to Israel to fight in the war. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. Everyone around him had a smile on their face because he always smiled at them and laughed with them. “That’s how I want them to remember him,” Missner added. Jagger Balkin, a friend of Balva and Missner, said his friend’s love for Israel was solidified during a trip in which high school seniors spent three months living in the Jewish state. Ethan went to Georgetown. I went to Pennsylvania. “We all wanted him to live the college experience with us,” Balkin told The Washington Post.
“He even got accepted to American University and a few other schools. But he chose the IDF instead. He loved Israel too much. It felt like a calling, something he needed to do.” Balva had big plans for the future, including proposing to his girlfriend and working for his father’s floral business. Thousands of people flocked to Balva’s funeral on Sunday in Herzliya, a city just north of Tel Aviv, his former teacher Akiva Gersh told the Washington Post. During the service, his father and his three brothers “talked about how, even though Omer had been in that village where he was killed for only a few days, all the villagers already knew and loved him,” Gersh said. “That was so him…he knew what he wanted to do and where he needed to be. And wherever he went, people always loved him,” Gersh added. Among those in attendance was William Daroff, executive director of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “A blessing to attend the funeral of Sergeant (res) Omer Balva z”l. A hero and a patriot. May the memory of him be forever a blessing. May his strength carry us, the soldiers and the hostages forward in his merit,” Daroff wrote on Facebook.