Wednesday morning at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told families who lost their loved ones defending the nation lf Israel, “on this day all of the People of Israel feel this agony with you.”
In Israel, he said, “The boys and girls who defend our nation along with their families should feel pride” for their sacrifice to their country.
But he also said, “We members of the bereaved families do not need Memorial Day to remember our loved ones who fell… on this day the entire nation is with us in an embrace and with love.”
Netanyahu himself has lost more than one person who was dear to him. His older brother Yoni was killed in the line of duty while on a mission rescuing hostages at Entebbe airport. He also told those gathered at Mount Herzl about two comrades killed in action: Zohar Ben Linik and David Ben Hamo.
The prime minister said his memory of his friend David dying of his wounds as he held him in his arms will never leave him. Decades later, when he went to visit David’s family in Be’er Sheva, he saw how his mother had left his friend’s room exactly as it had been on the day he died, he added.
Netanyahu also spoke about a more recent encounter with twin girls whose father fell in battle. When asked what they remembered of their father, they broke down crying, unable even to speak. “We cried with them,” he said.
“Throughout my years as prime minister, whenever I get the news of a soldier who falls, my heart breaks with the family,” he said. Netanyahu vowed to do “everything possible” to bring home the remains of Israel’s two lost soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. The bodies of both are being held hostage by Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.Hana Levi Julian