President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday continued with his condolence calls to families of fallen soldiers, following visits that he began on Friday.
Rivlin visited four families on Sunday, beginning in Ashkelon with the family of lone soldier St.-Sgt. Jordan Bensemhoun, who came from France to join the IDF.
The president then continued to Ashdod to the family of Sgt. Ben Itzhak Oanounou, and then to St.-Sgt. Tal Ifrach’s family in Rishon Lezion, and lastly to Mazkeret Batya to the family of St.-Sgt. Maj. Ohad Shemesh.
Oanounou’s parents tearfully told Rivlin that their son had volunteered to go in the tank in which he was killed and that he was among the first to go into Gaza.
Rivlin embraced them and told them that their son represented the best in Israel, and said that he is a symbol of the willingness to fight for a free and independent nation.
“The soldiers deserve our deepest appreciation,” he said.
At the Ifrach home, where the president also met some of the young soldier’s comrades, Rivlin turned to them and said: “You are our heroes. I can see how you, our children, become more praiseworthy from generation to generation.”
Tal’s mother, Aviva Ifrach, said that the family feels that all of Israel is behind Tal.
“People are coming here from all over the country to comfort us, and we see that the nation of Israel survives thanks to the soldiers who defend us and protect the state,” she said.
“We defend our country with our sons,” Rivlin said after the visits. “Our soldiers in the IDF risk their lives to defend every single soul in Israel. They are the shining examples of our people.”