The Tragerman family on Sunday concluded the traditional seven-day mourning period for their son, Daniel, who was killed by a Gaza mortar that struck Kibbutz Nahal Oz toward the end of fighting between Israel and Gaza last week.
Gila and Doron Tragerman visited the gravesite of their son with their two children, Yuval and Uri, as well as their parents. Daniel Tragerman was buried in the cemetery in the nearby town of Yuval, which is also in the Eshkol regional council.
"With all of the pain that we feel after your departure, we will continue with our lives and raise your brothers with love," said Gila Tragerman. "We will overcome and continue to be the most joy-filled family, just as you knew us to be. Daniel will always be with us in our hearts and he will always be everywhere. We will never forget you, your smile, and the joy that you brought to the family."
During her eulogy last week, Gila described her son as “the love of my life, a perfect boy, the dream of every mother and father. Smart, sensitive, advanced for your age in every way. Beautiful, so beautiful.”
She said that on Friday “everything happened so quickly,” and that while Daniel was always the first to run to the safe room during the rocket sirens, “this time you had a frozen look on your face.” She said she called to his younger sister, Yuval, and a moment later it was over, Daniel was gone, and the family “was left with these terrible sights that will follow us for the rest of our lives.”
Daniel’s family, along with hundreds of loved ones, bid farewell to him at a small cemetery in the Hevel Shalom area in the Eshkol region. Like Nahal Oz, the area is exposed to heavy mortar and rocket fire, and the military censor banned Israeli outlets from broadcasting live from the funeral and required that they wait until after the ceremony to report on it, so as not to inform Hamas that there was a gathering of hundreds just a short distance from the border.
Though there was criticism in the press that no members of the government attended the funeral, President Reuven Rivlin was present at the ceremony.
In his eulogy on Sunday, he said Daniel was the boy for whom Israel fights and for whom the country will continue to fight.
“We paid with blood that has no price,” he said.
Speaking of the residents of the South, who live near the Gaza border where Daniel lived, Rivlin said that they, with their bodies, defend the Land of Israel.
Daniel’s life was lost in a matter of moments. A warning siren went off and Daniel’s parents, Gila and Doron, dashed to grab his younger siblings, Yuval, three, and Ori, one, to rush them to safety. Though the other two were able to get in the safe room in time, Daniel was still exposed when a mortar hit a car parked outside the family house and sent shrapnel flying inside the house, killing him.
The Tragermans were in the process of packing their belongings to again evacuate the kibbutz, located only 2 km. from the Gaza border. Only a few days earlier they’d returned to the kibbutz after spending most of the war further north with friends and family, and already had their suitcases packed on Friday when the mortar hit outside their house. The kibbutz members have made a collective decision that as many residents as possible will leave until the attacks from Gaza stop.
The IDF said the mortar was fired from near a school that Hamas was using to shelter displaced Palestinians.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
Tragerman is the youngest of four civilians killed in Israel in the during the operation, along with 64 soldiers who died throughout the fighting.
Daniel’s mother said on Saturday that her son was always responsible about the warnings and the sirens, that every time there was an alert he knew where to go and what to do, and that “once everyone was inside the safe room, he’d say ‘Now we’re all safe.’”
Ben Hartman and Aloni Mor of Maariv Sof Shavua contributed to this story.