Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bereaved Family Exhibits True Gadlus [Greatness] & Love

January 11, 2009

Their son, Sergeant Nitai Stern z"l was killed in Gaza by mistaken IDF tank fire. However, they do not exhibit anger or bitterness, but engulf the entire nation with their genuine act of greatness and love. They turned to President Shimon Peres to give a big hug to the tank corps soldiers who fired the mistaken fatal round. They told him to explain there is no anger, no bitterness.

The Sterns are well-aware of the price we must pay at times for the right and the privilege to defend Eretz Yisrael, and they appear willing to accept this painful reality, having lost their youngest child, Nitai. Reuven, Nitai's father, explains that "as soon as the ground operation began I knew he was not returning. Before Nitai was killed, my wife began making preparations for the shiva. I took NIS 3,000 out of the ATM to have cash at home during the shiva. I have a long genealogy tracing back 300 years in Yerushalayim. I do not remember anyone from our family being lost since the 1929 Chevron riots. I thought to myself perhaps we are due for such a tragedy?"

Sarah refers to Nitai as a "true hero". She goes on to explain, "There is no war without such incidents. They occur. We have a responsibility and a privilege to embrace them. We must adopt them, to look after the boys, to make sure they do not permit themselves to become depressed and live with guilt of having done something wrong. We want them to come to us and become part of our family. We lost a family and I do not wish for another mother to lose a child to sorrow or despair."

The family of Captain Yoni Netanel z"l feels the same and on Friday, erev Shabbos, the fallen soldier's father, Rav Amos, succeeded in reaching the members of the tank crew who fired the shell on the phone. He explained how they love and embrace them. The astounded soldiers expressed their thanks for the words of love and encouragement.

This however was not enough for Rav Amos, who sent a letter to the soldiers of the regiment, telling them we all know such unfortunate incidents are a part of war but we mustn't permit such events to interfere with focusing on the objective, a decisive victory against the enemy. He explained how Yoni died Al Kiddush Hashem and "it was better that your pure hands struck him and not the defiling hands of the barbaric enemy".

"We love you with all our hearts. You are members of our family…"

The letter is signed by Rav Amos, his wife Malki and Yoni's widow Tziona, adding Yoni's [3-month-old] daughter requests they come and visit after the war, to meet them, to give them a hug". (Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

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