Fallen soldiers girfriend speaks at S.F. event

The 20-year-old girlfriend of an Israeli soldier from the United States who was killed in battle last summer gave an emotional speech at a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces event last week in San Francisco.

Sgt. Sean Carmeli of South Padre Island, Texas, was killed July 20 when the vehicle he was in was struck by an anti-tank weapon in the Gaza Strip. According to various sources, anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 people attended his funeral in Haifa, in part because of a widespread social media call to honor him.

His girlfriend, identified only as Sgt. Eden, spoke Nov. 13 at the San Francisco FIDF chapter’s annual gala, which raised $750,000. A sold-out crowd of 450 guests listened to Eden, a lone soldier from Long Island, New York, who served in the artillery corps and had been dating Carmeli for about two years. She currently serves in the IDF’s spokesperson unit.

“Had I not moved to Israel and chosen what I chose, I never would have learned the true meaning of ‘love at first sight,’ ” Eden told the rapt audience. “He and I had an unusually beautiful relationship, where we would see each other only after a month and a half, at most for three days. Instead of letting the time apart break us apart, it only made us stronger. When either of us was having a hard time in the army and was totally losing it, we were each other’s halves and helped each other through every single hardship.”

She concluded her speech: “Seany was a role model to the friends he grew up with, to his friends in the army and to me. His view on life was something out of this world, and all I have to say is that, Seany, I dedicate all of this to you. I miss you and I love you. Thank you all for allowing me to share my story.”