(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
In the shade of a well-established grove of eucalypts and tamarisks in Nitzana Forest, KKL-JNF has established a wheelchair-accessible area that includes a concrete-surfaced parking lot and concrete paths that lead to picnic tables suitably spaced for wheelchair users.
“This is just the sort of scenery that Erez loved – the desert, sand dunes and vast unending expanses,” said his father Ilan Sagi at the inauguration ceremony. “The site possesses many of the same qualities as Erez: it’s quiet yet impressive, modest and slightly hidden from public view. You have to get closer up order to perceive its many fine qualities.”
The event was attended by dozens of family members, friends and others who wished to pay their respects. In the morning a jeep excursion held in memory of Erez led participants to the finishing point in Nitzana Forest just in time for the inauguration ceremony.
“KKL-JNF is involved in a wide variety of numerous projects, but when it comes to commemorating a fallen IDF soldier who met an untimely death while defending his country, there’s a special emotional connection for everyone,” said Amir Mazor, Director of KKL-JNF’s Mount Negev and Arava region. “Let us hope that this site will be a living symbol of the memories of Erez that survive within everyone’s hearts.”
Erez, a combat soldier in the Givati Brigade’s Shaked Battalion, was killed in battle near Kibbutz Nahal Oz on July 28th, 2014, at the age of nineteen. Family members recounted that he had loved Nitzana Forest, which he used to visit and where he used to sit in the shade of the trees. For almost thirty years now, this woodland has served hikers, soldiers stationed in the area and the local people, too. Now it will also serve to perpetuate the memory and heritage of Erez Sagi, who was famous among friends and family for his great love of Israel and its landscapes, for whose safety he paid the greatest price of all.
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