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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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Peres’ Eulogy: ‘Wonderful Boys, Sons Of The Whole Nation’

Shimon Peres speaking at funeral service for Gilad, Naftali and Eyal

Shimon Peres speaking at funeral service for Gilad, Naftali and Eyal
Photo Credit: Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90

Dear Yifrach family, Frankel family and Shaar family,

Prime minister, ministers, rabbis, Knesset members, officers and soldiers of the IDF, citizens of Israel.

Today we lay to rest Naftali, Gilad and Eyal. Three wonderful boys, a part of the Jewish people. It has been 18 days and 18 nights during which I, like all of you, was sick with worry.

We prayed, each of us alone and all of us together, for a miracle. We prayed that we would see them return in peace to the families, to their homes and to us all. Sadly, we were hit by the tragedy of their murder and a deep grief enveloped our people.

We are an ancient people, united and deeply rooted. Our story is full of tears but the soul maintains the Torah. These three boys exposed the depth of our people and the heights it can reach. A nation with a soul that yearns. A nation that demonstrates resilience like no other. A nation that even in its years of exile never lost its way.

A nation blessed with mothers like Rachel, Bat Galim and Iris. Dear mothers, your voices united a nation and educated a generation. You, the mothers and fathers, raised children that Israel can be proud of. You inspired in them a love of their people, a love of Torah, and a love of the land. You instilled in them devotion and a love of mankind.

Naftali, Gilad, Eyal, Many of us saw only small snapshots of your personalities, of who you were. From those snapshots a beautiful picture developed of confident young boys, sure of their way, in service of their people. Youngsters with radiant faces, who stood tall. With a thirst for knowledge and a knowledge of prayers. Sure of their purpose and fulfilling the commandments. You showed the face of our people with a bright and painful light, our unity and its morality. The victories of Israel, not only the eternity of Israel.

We also saw our soldiers, the IDF, the Shin Bet, the police, the border police and the volunteers, with focus in their eyes. Climbing over rocks with legs that did not slow. A sense of mission in a military uniform. I know you will find the murderers, and they will be punished.  Israel will act with a firm hand until terror is uprooted. To those who celebrate our suffering, I say that terrorism aimed at us hurts those who dispatch it.

Gilad, Naftali, Eyal. Wonderful boys, sons of the whole nation. Rest in peace. We will bow our heads but our spirit will not break.

Dear families, I know your suffering and I also know how you dealt with it; you turned your grief into a source of hope for the whole nation. May you find comfort in the building of Zion and Jerusalem.

May you know no more grief. May their memories be blessed for eternity.

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