Rivlin pays condolences to families of IDF soldiers killed in Hezbollah att.
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin cut short his visit to New York in order to pay condolence calls on Friday to the families of St.- Sgt. Dor Chaim Nini in Shtulim and Maj. Yochai Kalangel in Elazar.
The soldiers were killed on Wednesday when their patrol vehicle was hit by antitank missiles fired from Lebanon.
Rivlin was greatly distressed when news of events on the northern border reached him, and he immediately instructed his staff to reschedule his flight home.
He told the Nini family that he had not come to offer comfort because he knows there is no such thing and the pain of mourning would remain for a long time. But he gave his assurance that neither he, nor the IDF nor the people of Israel would forget the heroism of Nini.
The soldier’s mother told the president that she always knew that her son was a hero. His father added that the young man had done everything for them.
“He was our right hand,” he said.
At the Kalangel home in Elazar, Rivlin told the family that he had already heard heart-warming descriptions of Kalangel’s leadership abilities and had no doubt of his potential to have become a great leader in the IDF. Rivlin spent time with the family discussing their life in Elazar and the values on which Yochai had been raised.
Kalangel had been Nini’s commander.
The president said to both families that after learning of the deaths of the two soldiers, he had told all the dignitaries that he met in New York about the sacrifices that Israel has endured for its security. He said that he felt as if he was an emissary on behalf of the fallen soldiers in the same way as they had been emissaries for the security of the nation.