“Our Daniel. Our hero. I have no idea how to say goodbye to you. How do you say goodbye to an 18-year-old boy?” Natalie Kedmi tearfully eulogized as her brother, Daniel, was laid to rest in the Kiryat Shaul Military Cemetery in northern Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
Sgt. Daniel Kedmi, 18, from Tzufin in the West Bank, was killed on Monday in an attack near Kibbutz Nahal Oz along with four comrades.
With the summer sun beating down on an audience of dozens, mourners gathered to pay tribute to Kedmi, who was remembered as an effervescent, loving soldier who had a zest for life.
“You were our light, the glue that held the family together. You were born with charisma and the ability to lead... We were always so proud of you. I hope you are in a good place, take care of yourself. We miss you,” Natalie said, her voice quivering as she remembered her younger brother, who served a mere eight months in the IDF and was training to become a squad leader.
“Daniel – my best friend and my second brother. I can’t believe I’m speaking to you like this, just last Friday we were cracking jokes together,” childhood friend Or Ben-Sasson cried, also overwhelmed by Kedmi’s death.
After his father, Boaz, tearfully said Kaddish and blessed his memory, Kedmi’s commander, Sec.-Lt. Or Tzarfati, commended Kedmi for his natural leadership and bravery.
“Daniel. My warrior, my friend, my son. We went through a long journey together. In every step we took, every assignment, field patrol, every training exercise, you were by my side. You were my right hand, I knew I could trust you blindly.”
Cautioning against a premature ceasefire, Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika warned, “All of Israel has turned into one untied front. A sea of hate is swirling around us and urging us to lay down our arms.”
“IDF soldiers in the land, sea and air are charging the gates of Gaza, where on the other side hundreds of thousands of hostile eyes and hands are staring back and praying for our weakness,” he said.
“They’re waiting for the moment they can tear us to pieces. Did we forget this? Millions of Jews were exterminated because they didn’t have a country.”
Kedmi is survived by his parents and three siblings.