President Shimon Peres on Tuesday continued his condolence calls on families of soldiers who fell in battle during Operation Protective edge.
In the mourning tent of the family of Maj. Tzafrir Baror, 32, in Holon, the soldier’s parents Sharona and Arye greeted Peres in voices shrouded in grief. Peres folded his arms around Sharona Baror and stood holding her for a long period. He wiped the tears from her eyes and tried to bring her some sense of strength and comfort.
He then turned to the soldier’s widow, Sivan, who is in an advanced stage of pregnancy, and who was holding her one-year-old daughter Lian. He told her that the child to whom she would give birth would be a living monument to Tzafrir. “Your son was a model of courage and dedication... He loved the State of Israel, he loved humanity and he did not hesitate to lay down his life in defense of the citizens of the South. Tzafrir leaves a huge vacuum and great pain. But the nation stands behind every soldier. We are fighting a murderous insanity that is confronting us, and only we alone can defend ourselves,” Peres told the soldier’s parents.
Sharona Baror told the president about her infant granddaughter, who whenever an adult steps into the house asks: “Is Daddy coming?” Speaking of her granddaughter, Sharona said that she has noticed that her eyes were similar to those of Tzafrir, saying, “I thought that he was looking at me through her eyes.”
At the Kiryat Ono home of St.-Sgt. Gilad Rozenthal Yacoby, 21, Peres encountered his grandfather Yosef, who said that “I cannot forgive a situation in which a grandfather has to bury his grandson.”
Yacoby’s parents Michal and Avraham showed Peres a photo album of Gilad, with pictures from the time he was a baby to when he became a soldier. They said he was kind and sensitive and loved music. His ambition was to enter politics so that he could influence things for the benefit of others.
His grandfather recalled the young man’s joy when he was accepted into the Golani Brigade.
Yacoby’s sister Rotem said that he had a premonition of the fate that awaited him. They had been sitting on the porch in her house in Beersheba just before he went to Gaza, she told Peres, when he had said that “I’m not telling anyone except you – but I have a feeling that I won’t be coming back. I’m afraid of what will happen to all of you afterwards.”
As he was leaving, Peres said that “Gilad was physically strong – but more important, he was spiritually strong. A boy like that leaves a deep love behind him.”