Israel Defense Forces Lt. Col. (Res.) Dr. Avi Har-Lev, who resided in Northeast Ohio for several years, was found dead Jan. 12 from a gunshot wound in the Lahav forest in northern Negev, Israel.
A resident of Sansana in the Mount Hebron district, World Israel News and Arutz7 reported Jan. 13 that the circumstances surrounding his death are being investigated. Har-Lev was found dead in his uniform after a meeting with his reserve unit the evening of Jan. 12.
Har-Lev, 50, was a gynecologist that specialized in fertility, most recently as the director of Barzilai Medical Center’s in-vitro fertilization unit in Ashkelon, Israel. He had also held a position for nine years at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, Israel, according to his LinkedIn profile. Arutz7 and World Israel News reported he published more than 45 research papers and contributed to a number of medical books during his career.
Between August 2014 to August 2019, Har-Lev and his family resided in Northeast Ohio, creating Jewish communal ties remembered years later.
“It is a profound sense of sadness, as he was an exceptionally fine human being and a pleasure to have in the community,” Rabbi Binyamin Blau of Green Road Synagogue in Beachwood, told the CJN. “When I got the news, I was shocked and devastated. He was a regular at (Green Road Synagogue), his kids went to Fuchs Mizrachi School.”
Blau also described Har-Lev as very “bright and talented in his profession,” as well as a “very gifted and an exceptional person.” While in Cleveland, Har-Lev served as a research fellow in andrology at the Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute from August 2014 to July 2015, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
“He was a great, pioneering doctor, and obviously the personal tragedy is great but the professional loss is also significant,” Blau said.
Though only in the community for a few years, Blau said Har-Lev’s connections have persevered.
“(Har-Lev)’s kids were very beloved and he kept meaningful ties,” Blau said. “He remained connected to the community. People called me this morning and said they had already been in contact with his family. Even though his time here was relatively brief, he remained part of our community and connected with people.”
Har-Lev is survived by his wife, Shulamit, and their five children, Ron, Moriya, Lavi, Maor and Hadar Shira, two grandchildren, his parents and a brother.