There are few sounds more heart-rending than that of a mother mourning the loss of her child.
On Sunday Ada Rubel eulogized her youngest son, 20-year-old paratrooper St.- Sgt. Bnaya Rubel, as he was laid to rest at the Holon Military Cemetery. Rubel was killed in Gaza on Saturday during Operation Protective Edge.
“There are no words to describe the loss we feel today,” she said. “We so waited for your return, and instead the messengers came.”
Alongside her husband Ze’evi and three remaining sons, Tomer, Liel and Yarin, Ada spoke of her son as a “leader from birth, charismatic, a true patriot who loved his homeland.”
A native of Holon, Rubel was active in the local dance troupe and music scene. Following in the footsteps of his brothers, he was determined to serve in a combat unit, and was thrilled when he was accepted to the paratroopers.
Since the murder of three Israeli teenagers last month, the event that eventually led to the Gaza operation, Rubel had few opportunities to visit his family on the weekends.
At the funeral, they sorrowfully recalled their final visit to him on his base last week, the final hugs they shared, the sweet note of thanks he sent for the gifts and cheer they brought.
On Thursday, he called his mother to tell her he would soon be going into Gaza, and to reassure her that he would be safe amid the forces.
Just a few days later, a sea of soldiers carried his coffin to its final resting place. Their vocal “amens” overwhelmed the muffled Kaddish his family recited over the grave.
A senior IDF officer praised Rubel for being like a mighty cliff, using Tzuk Eitan, the Hebrew name of Operation Protective Edge, to describe the soldier.
“Jewish history is repeating itself as an enemy tries to annihilate us just because we are Jews,” he added.
Rubel’s elder brother Liel told the gathered friends and family of the horror of answering the door at 11:00 at night to discover army officers bearing bad tidings.
The night before, he himself had avoided coming to his parents’ home late at night, worried that a knock on the door while his brother was fighting in Gaza would cause undue alarm.
Visiting the family, Holon Mayor Moti Sasson noted with regret that “Bnaya was born while I was mayor and, sadly, was also killed during my tenure.”