Dedicating a Grove to Avi Sasportas, a Victim of Hamas Terror.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Twenty-eight years to the day after the kidnapping and murder by Hamas terrorists of their son and brother, Sgt. Avi Sasportas, the Sasportas family dedicated the grove near Hodiya Junction in the South where his body was found Feb. 16, 1989, as a memorial to his life.
KKL-JNF helped renovate this place, which witnessed such pain and horror, into a peaceful spot for contemplation, with a memorial site and benches.
Sasportas, a member of the Israeli Special Forces unit, was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists disguised as ultra orthodox men while hitching a ride home from the Hodiya Junction to Ashdod. His body was found 81 days later on May 7, buried not far from where he had been kidnapped.
Friends and family members gathered together on the rainy afternoon of Feb. 16 to honor Sasportas and dedicate the grove, which includes a commemoration plaque and a memorial at the site where Sasportas body was found.
“It was 81 days of not knowing, of realizing that it was no longer in our hands,” the sister Ruthie Sasportas said, reading the words written by another sister Yudit Sasportas, who lives in Berlin, Germany. “We have come here today to turn that image of 81 days around and into 18, the numerical value of life. We will never be able to understand…but in this place, from today onward we will change the code. We are very present in this place.”
The Hebrew letters which stand for the number 18, חי (chai), also mean “life” in Hebrew.
“It has been 28 years without you and in all those years not one day goes by that I don’t think of you or talk to you. When I hear a song or a poem you loved I realized how much you are missing in my life,” said youngest sister Doris Sasportas, who headed the project together with KKL-JNF. “I thank you for the short time we had together.”
“The rain today is very symbolic. It is very cleansing and also creates new life,” said Danny Erman, Sasportas’ first commanding officer who had participated in the search for him. “We know that along with our mourning, we continue life.”
Read more about the Avi Sasportas Grove and see photos