The courage and dedication of Moshe and Paskal saved countless lives, President
Shimon Peres said on Sunday to the families of IDF St.-Sgt.Moshe
Naftali, 22, and Israel Police Chief Warrant Officer Paskal Avrahami,
The two men died on Thursday while fighting Palestinians who had
attacked civilian vehicles in the South.RELATED:
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Peres first went to Ofra to
express his condolences to Naftali’s family. The president embraced the Golani
Brigade warrior’s immediate relatives and told them that their beloved Moshe
represented the values of dedication and love for his country, and that he
served Israel with courage and was willing to lay down his life for the nation’s
security and the safety of her citizens.
Aware of Naftali’s religious
background and his yeshiva high school education, Peres said the fallen soldier
took the wisdom he had accumulated into his final battle. The president said
that he realized how hard it was to raise a young man and to lose him in the
full bloom of his youth. The whole nation empathizes with the family, and bows
its head, Peres said.
Naftali’s parents, Yosef and Shulamit, said they
had just begun to reap the fruit of everything that they had invested in their
son when he was taken from them and killed in battle.
They could not
envisage what life would be like without him, but despite their grief they were
tremendously appreciative of the president’s visit and of the outpouring of
affection they received from the public.
The visit to the family of
Avrahami, the most veteran and a highly respected sniper in the elite Yamam
counterterrorism unit of the police, was much more emotional. Peres again
embraced each member of the immediate family, but when he came face to face with
Avrahami’s widow Sima, she burst into tears, fell into the president’s arms, and
clung to him for consolation for several long minutes. Peres told the family
that it had been his privilege to meet Paskal Avrahami, some half a year ago
during a visiting with his police force, and he had been deeply impressed by his
personality, his professionalism and his dedication to duty. He had been equally
impressed by Avrahami’s uncanny accuracy, when the latter had put on a sniper
show for him to see.
“Paskal told me about his family, about his
emigration from France, about his volunteerism and about how he felt about
Israel,” recalled Peres.
“He was a man of great courage, but he was also
modest, even though he was a legend of his time.”
told Peres that with Paskal’s death “we have lost a living symbol.”
Avrahami told Peres that in the last few days of his life, Avrahami had found it
difficult to fall asleep. When she asked him what was troubling him, he said he
could not stop thinking about captured solider Gilad Schalit, and what he wanted
most was to see him come home.
“Paskal was killed. He won’t be coming
back,” said Sima. “I beg you to at least bring back Gilad, because that was
Paskal’s last wish.”
Upon leaving the Avrahami household, Peres said in
relation to the escalation of rocket attacks from Gaza, “This is a difficult
testing time for us, but it’s not the first time that we have been tested, and
the people of Israel know to unite in the face of such incidents. The residents
of the South are under constant threat, and are behaving in a quiet, disciplined
fashion, without giving way to hysteria. I salute them.”
confident that the residents of the South know that the IDF is doing all that is
possible to defend them, and knows how to deal with any and every
Peres also related to current tensions in relations between
Israel and Egypt and said that peace was a matter of strategic importance to
Sinai must remain a center of peace and tourism, he said,
emphasizing that it cannot be ruled by extremists and terrorists.
also voiced regret over the deaths of Egyptian soldiers who were shot while
Israel was retaliating against the terrorist onslaught near Eilat, and expressed
his condolences and those of the nation to the families of the victims.