Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90
Graves in the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara met on Monday in Jerusalem with a group of youth whose fathers were killed in action while serving in the IDF, known as IDF orphans, ahead of Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, which will commence Tuesday night.

The two were moved by the stories of heroism and by the orphans’ pain over the loss of their fathers. The Prime Minister shared his personal bereavement over the loss of his brother Yoni Netanyahu.


Yoni Netanyahu was the commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal unit and was killed in action during Operation Entebbe to release Israeli hostages held in Uganda.

Netanyahu said that when experiencing such a loss, “I call it the ripping out of an organ. It is like they have cut your hand or foot off, or taken out an organ. Therefore, the big question is how does one live after this?”

We related to the poem ‘After My Death’ written by Nachman Bialik who wrote “There was a man – and look, he is no more. He died before his time. The music of his life suddenly stopped. A pity! There was another song in him. Now it is lost forever.”

“My answer to this is no, he is here in the heart,” Netanyahu offered.

“Beyond all the things that we are doing outside, the true commemoration is in your hearts: What you know, what you have locked up, what you have gathered and received from the family or from your memory is the existence that exists with you forever in the heart,” he said.

“I tell you, it will live in your heart until your last day and not leave. It does not need to leave; on the contrary, your fathers live within you. From what you knew or from what you learned afterward from your mothers, aunts and uncles, and the family. Your fathers live within you,” he added.

“I can tell you, my brother Yoni lives within me every day. I talk to him about many things. This is the strongest commemoration that can be and it gives you strength. Your fathers live within each one of you,” he concluded.

The group included Shilo Butbul, 17, son of the late Sgt. Mordechai Butbul; Neriah Moreno, 17, son of the late Col. Emmanuel Moreno; Asul Nasr E-Din, 16, daughter of the late Sgt. Lutfy Nasr E-Din; Rotem Sharir, 26, daughter of the late Lt. Col. Yuval Sharir; Lehi Greenberg, 22, daughter of the late Col. Amotz Greenberg, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014; Yosiel Kahlon, 23, son of Warrant Officer Rami Kahlon, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge; Stav Harriri, 26, son of the late Col. Dov Harriri; Noam Almaliah, 23, son of the late Sgt. Moshe Almaliah, who was killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip; and Yasam Shibl, 27, son of the late Sgt. Ibrahim Shibl.


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.