Family and Friends Mourn Fallen IAF Pilot, Navigator

Pilot's elder brother was killed on naval service in 1998.

Friends and relatives of Israel Air Force pilot Maj. Amichai Itkis and navigator Maj. Emanuel Levy arrived Thursday at the family homes to pay their respects after rescue services found their bodies at the crash site of the F-16I jet in the Negev.

Family and friends mounring -  Moti Milrod
Moti Milrod

The Itkis family struggled to accept the news of their son's death, as Amichai's older brother, Barak, was killed during his military service in the Navy in 1998.

Family friend Ze'ev Boim Mk (Kadima) arrived at the Itkis family home in Sde Warburg, said:

"I have known the family for 30 years," he said. "We travelled together on an educational mission in the Jewish community in Mexico City," he said. "Amichai was born in Mexico City. I remember his circumcision."

Amichai had always dreamed of being a pilot, Boim said. "His entire room was filled with model planes... he fulfilled his dream. His parents could stand in his way, but there are always butterflies in the stomach when there's a pilot, and unfortunately, what happened, happened."

"Its truly the fate of an enemy," Boim said.

Itkis, 28, had recently started studying at the Interdisciplinary center (IDC) Herzliya and participated in weekly training flights, as IAF regulations demand.

His was survived by his father, Chaim, his mother Ariela, and a younger sister.

The Levy family remained secluded in their home in Ma'ale Adomim and refused to speak to the press.

His friend, Guy Gur Arie, who shared an apartment with Levy in the past sai:d "There was no one like him in the entire country. He was the best there is."

Levy served with Gur Arie as a paratrooper, before transferring to the Air Force and undergoing training to become a navigator.