Ilan Vakhnin, principal of the Shakim High School in Nahariya, is on the steering committee developing policy and programming for th Partnership 2Gether, a sister city relationship between the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey and Nahariya, a city in southern Israel.
He was part of a six-person delegation, in town for a few days of meetings, when his cell phone rang.
On the other end, his daughter was crying so hard that he had to tell her to stop it if he was going to be able to understand what she was telling him. Eventually, she was able to get the message out.
Adar Barsano was dead.
Mr. Barsano, a student whom he had known since he was a small child, a kid who had been in his daughter’s grade, two years out of high school, 20 years old, now an IDF soldier, was dead.
“And then all my students from Israel started texting me,” he said. “All of Nahariya is devastated. All the teachers in my school, the headmaster, the head of municipality, the parents ““ it is not a large community. We have just two high schools, and everybody knows everybody.
“All the social media was going crazy, talking about him, showing pictures of him.”
He had a life ahead of him, Mr. Vakhnin said. “Like every Israeli, he meant to finish the army, join friends and travel a bit, then go to college. He was a good student.
“He meant to live his life,” Mr. Vakhnin said.