Eilat terror victims laid to rest 311.
(photo credit: Isrphoto)
“I just want to kiss him,” the grandfather of St.-Sgt. Moshe Naftali, 22, cried
out, as soldiers marched the young man’s flagdraped coffin into the Mount Herzl
Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on Friday.
Friends and family members held
back the older man. But then they let him approach the coffin. The grandfather
bent down and kissed it.
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The mourners hugged each other, cried and
screamed when the coffin was lowered into the grave and bags of dirt were thrown
Moshe, a soldier in the Golani Brigade’s Reconnaissance
Battalion and a resident of the Ofra settlement, was killed when his unit
responded to the terror attacks near Eilat on Thursday.
“We all feel your
pain. It is the pain of an entire nation that has watched the best of its sons
cut down. An entire nation cries for its sons,” IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Rafi
Peretz told Naftali’s family.
Of Naftali, he said, “You were filled with
the love of Israel and the land. You believe that you were a partner with God in
returning Israel to Zion from exile.”
For close to an hour Naftali’s
commanders, friends and family members spoke of a young man who was dedicated to
his family, his country and his religion.
His younger brother Itamar
said, “I can say many things, that you were happy, that you always gave your
all, that you always took responsibility, that you always knew what to do in
every situation. But everyone who knows you, knows this.”
Moshe was the
heroic figure in the house, Itamar said.
“I always thought, wow, what a
brother. I really admired you,” he said.
Not wanting his mother to worry,
Moshe made light of his activities in the army, Itamar said.
know what was going on, “I would listen to your conversations with your
friends,” Itamar said.
Moshe was the kind of brother, said Itamar, who
took the time, even in the midst of busy moments in the army, to call and check
in with his siblings.
“You always worried about me. You wanted to know
how I was doing and how I was feeling.
Even when I didn’t call, you would
call me,” he said.
“People always told me that in the army, you can lose
your religion, but with my brother, it seemed to be the opposite,” said Itamar.
He added that his brother always tried to find time to study religious
Briefly taking the microphone, his sister Tiferet, 16, said, “We
have not succeeded in waking up from this bad dream. We don’t understand how
Her brother didn’t just die, she said. “He fell as a hero
on behalf of Israel. Moshe, you are 22, and you won’t grow any older. But
inside of me, you will grow. Even when I pass your age, you will remain
my older brother forever.”
Their father, Yosef, said that his son had
been a quiet, deep and principled person.
When he had to engage in
military activities, he somehow managed to find wine and halla to say the
“I always told him, you don’t have to do everything, you can
do less. But he was the kind of person who did everything to the end,” Yosef
“Even now you did everything through and
Among the hundreds of mourners was US Ambassador Dan Shapiro
and his wife, Julie. They laid a wreath on the grave on behalf of the
Naftali is survived by his parents and seven