In 1997, on the night of Shvat 27th 5757, 13 years ago this week, two helicopters carrying elite IDF solders crashed into each other as they hovered over Moshav Shear Yashuv, awaiting permission to fly into Lebanon. As was the normal procedure when entering Lebanon, the first helicopter had turned off its lights when the second one crashed into it. All 73 people on board the two helicopters died.
The entire country was thrown into national mourning over the worst air disaster ever in Israel.
The following day’s Maariv newspaper’s front page. The headline reads The Best of our Sons and has photos of those who perished.
Two of those who died were Tomer Keidar, youngest son of Hagit and Yoav Keidar of Kibbutz Negba and his best friend Tom.
Yoav Keidar sought a way to memorialize Tom and Tomer and the other 71 who died. His love of his country and particularly the flora and fauna of The Land of Israel, brought him to set up a special garden in their memory not far from his home.
Givat Tom veTomer ( Tom and Tomer Hill) is planted with only plants and fruits indigenous to the Land of Israel. There are many paths and benches as well as areas for groups to sit in the shade.
There are stones bearing quotations from the Tenach and Hebrew memorial songs play in the background as you wander around the garden.
There are also memorial stones listing all those who died.
At the entrance to the site an electric pole rises , painted in blue with 73 doves circling around the pole
To reach this beautiful memorial garden, enter Kibbutz Negba and follow the signs to Givat Tom veTomer.