(photo credit: kkl)
On the night of Sunday, 14th December, the fifth day of Hanuka, family and friends of Lieutenant Uri Binamo,
with soldiers from his unit, met at "Uri's Way" at KKL-JNF's Nesher
Park on the outskirts of Haifa, to light the Menorah erected in the
forest in his memory. Lieutenant Binamo was a modern-day Hanuka hero,
whose swift action, bravery and courage saved the lives of many
Israelis on the fifth day of Hanuka only four years ago.
the morning of 29th December, 2005, two suicide bombers blew themselves
up south of Tulkarem, when they were stopped and searched by a patrol
of the Israeli army's "Nachshon" battalion. Lieutenant Uri Binamo, the
patrol's 21 year-old commanding officer, had instructed the patrol to
meticulously check every car coming out of Tulkarem. When he saw a taxi
whose passengers looked suspicious, Lieutenant Binamo decided to check
them out himself. He ordered one of the passengers, of whom he was
particularly suspicious, to take off his coat. At the same time, Binamo
commanded the soldier standing next to him to take cover. While this
was going on, the Palestinian set off the explosives he had concealed
under his coat and as a result of the explosion, Lieutenant Uri Binamo
was killed. His determination prevented a suicide bombing in a crowded
center and saved the lives of many Israeli citizens. For his bravery,
he was posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor by the Israel Defense
Uri's mother, Rosie,
spoke before lighting the menorah:
"Since Uri was born, we have been coming here often to be in nature and
it was among these trees that Uri grew up. It is difficult to use the
words 'celebrating Hanuka' to describe what we are doing here today.
This menorah in the forest reminds us of Uri because it is modest,
upright and respected and it gives light to its surroundings.
"The weather today reminds me of the weather on that terrible
day when the army officers appeared at our door to tell us that Uri had
fallen. It was overcast and the rays of the sun were trying to break
through the clouds. And of course, it was the fifth day of Hanuka.
Since then, I feel that we have been trying to come to grips with light
and darkness. The light brings joy, and joy has helped me to cope with
my loss. I feel the light and the darkness within me, and very slowly,
they are learning to coexist.
"When we light the menorah today, we will be
lighting up the image of Uri, the person we love so much, the child,
the friend, the son, the officer, the human being. He is our soul, and
he brought light into many people's life. I thank everyone who made
this site and this day possible, especially KKL-JNF and Pnina Zeisler,
who are our partners to having created 'Uri's Way'."
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Uri's father, Avi,
recalled coming here with friends
four months ago, wondering whether their dream to commemorate Uri would
become a reality. "Thanks to my wife Rosie, our friends and family,
KKL-JNF and JNF America's Women's Campaign for Israel,
helped us to realize this project, we are here today. Thousands of
children visit Nesher Park throughout the year. They will walk the
educational path created by KKL-JNF in Uri's name and will stop at this
wooden menorah, where they read about Uri's life and his ultimate
heroism, which will serve as an example for them. I believe that in the
future, the Ministry of Education will promote educational initiatives
based on this site and Uri's life story.
are no words to describe how much I miss my son. Wherever I go and
whatever I do, I think of him and imagine him there with us.
Unfortunately, we must be ready to pay a heavy price in blood for
living in Israel, our country. I know that the story of Uri's
self-sacrifice and his excellence as a soldier and an officer is being
taught in the army and will inspire others to follow in his footsteps."
"Uri's Way", the nature trail in Nesher Park dedicated to Uri's
memory, begins at the Menorah and continues through the forest,
offering activities related to camouflage and observations and ending
at the Suspension Bridges. If you look next to the fifth candle itself,
you can actually make out Uri's home in the distance.
For more information, please visit our website at www.kkl.org.il/eng or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org