Telamim Park Dedicated in Memory of
Lieutenant Colonel Emanuel Moreno
On Sunday, June 20, a new park was dedicated in Telamim, a village near Sderot in the western Negev, in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Emanuel Moreno, of blessed memory. Emanuel Moreno served in Israel's elite Sayeret Matcal unit, and fell in combat at the end of the Second Lebanese War. Although the details of his military career are shrouded in secrecy to this day, what is known is that he was one of modern Israel's greatest heroes. He lived with his family in Telamim, which is where KKL-JNF, with contribution of KKL France, built the park commemorating Emanuel.
The ceremony was emceed by Reuven Na'amat
, KKL-JNF emissary to France, who called on Mr. Frederic Nordmann
, president of KKL-JNF France, to open the ceremony. Mr. Nordmann told the audience about the donor of the park, Leo Jacques
Alpern: "Leo passed away in France at the age of 103. He was a Holocaust survivor who had no children of his own, and his request was that the money he bequeathed us be used to make children in Israel happy. This park is exactly what he intended. I feel that both Emanuel and Leo are here with us at this dedication ceremony today."
"I did not know Emanuel Moreno personally, but I feel as if I met him through my acquaintance with his parents and brothers. I know that he was a great hero, and it is in his merit that we are privileged to be here dedicating this park."
KKL-JNF Co-Chairman Avraham Duvdevani
, who was also recently elected the head of the World Zionist Organization, spoke about the sacrifices necessary to build a country: "In the Talmud, there is a story about a father and son who are walking on the road. The son asks his father, Father, when will we arrive at a town, a place inhabited by people? His father answered him, When you see a cemetery, you will know that we are approaching a place that is inhabited.
"Unfortunately, the road towards building a country passes through the cemetery. One of KKL-JNF's guiding principles is to commemorate Israel's fallen warriors in our open spaces. From the northern border to Eilat in the south, we remember our soldiers with a broken heart and with great pride. This is why we are here today, thanks to the initiative of KKL-JNF France. Although I didn't know Emanuel, I know his family, the springs whose waters grew such a magnificent human being. Emanuel inspires us by his example, and he will be remembered through this park, which will be a place where people come to enjoy themselves and relax, a place of life and gladness."Major General Amos Yadlin
, head of Israel Military Intelligence, recalled that just two years ago, he awarded the Regional Command Citation to Emanuel posthumously: "Emanuel was awarded the citation not only for the bravery he showed in battle, but for his courage and heroism during his entire military career. He was outstanding in a unit of outstanding soldiers, as a soldier, as an officer and as a human being. He met every challenge with curiosity and commitment, and radiated confidence to everyone around him.
"When I think of Emanuel, I recall the Talmudic story of a man who was walking in the desert and found a tree full of fruit that was watered by a nearby spring.'Tree, tree,' he said, 'how can I bless you? You already have bountiful fruits and a nearby water source. I would therefore bless you that your seedlings be blessed as you are.' I too, pray that this park nurture young children who will grow up and be inspired by Emanuel's example. I know that there is no real comfort for Emanuel's family for such a loss. I would hope that some small comfort could be found in the knowledge that we are educating our younger generation to follow in Emanuel's footsteps and to live by his values." Yuval Diskin
, head of the General Security Service (Shabak), said that Emanuel Moreno was a person with a clear direction in life: "He was totally committed to his vision and goals. A nation blessed with soldiers like Emanuel is a nation that may allow itself to be full of hope that its future is assured."
Dr. Hagi ben Artzi was Emanuel's teacher in high school and was instrumental in publishing a booklet in his memory: "I recently visited the archaeological findings in the City of David, where I arrived at a better understanding of how much courage Yoav, who was to become the head of King David's army, had when he stole through the tunnels beneath the walls of Jerusalem to enable David's army to conquer the city. Emanuel reminds me of Yoav, a lone warrior who feared no obstacle. People visiting this park will remember Emanuel's legacy, his unique combination of faith and fearlessness."
The head of the Lachish Regional Council, Danny Moravya
, said that when you know the Moreno family, you understand Emanuel's roots: "To commemorate Emanuel, the family founded an NGO named Bedarkei Emanuel, 'Emanuel's Way', which supports educational and leadership initiatives for youth in Israel, something Emanuel would have totally identified with. I would like to thank all the various organizations, especially KKL-JNF Israel and KKL France, for working together to make this park into a reality. I am personally committed to guaranteeing that the park is well cared for and will always remind us that one of Israel's greatest warriors lived in our midst." Mr. Naftali Bennet
, Director-General of Yesha Council, served in the army together with Emanuel and noted Emanuel's two central qualities: "Emanuel wanted to give everything he had for his people, and was always trying to improve. As a soldier, he wasn't always the best sharpshooter or navigator, but what made him unique was that he always tried to do things better. When we were out on endless hikes or navigating all night, and everyone was exhausted beyond words, Emanuel would get up and start peeling potatoes for dinner. I remember these small things about Emanuel; they made the greatest impression on me."Emanuel's brother
spoke about their special relationship: "When I would see the incredible efforts Emanuel made to achieve the most impossible of goals, I would remind him of the words of our sages in the Ethics of the Fathers, 'You are not obligated to finish all the work.' He would come right back at me and complete the phrase: 'And you do not have the freedom not to do it.' He was a person who went out of his private space and took responsibility for the public. For this reason, I feel like the new park is really a fitting tribute for him, because everyone leaves their homes to come together as a community in this public space. I would like to thank KKL-JNF and KKL France for finding such an appropriate way of commemorating my brother's memory."Ilan Moreno, Emanuel's father
, also expressed his gratitude for the
park, especially to KKL-JNF's Yitzhak Mopsik and Etti Lankri, who
accompanied the project from its beginning. He spoke about the two
people whose names were immortalized in the park: "It is no coincidence
that this park commemorates two people who are not with us today, my
son Emanuel and Leo Alpert, the donor. Leo was a survivor of the
Holocaust in Europe, while Emanuel fought so that the Jewish people
would never again experience a holocaust. Emanuel's full name is
Emanuel Yehuda Moreno, and Jews named Yehuda would call themselves Leo
in the Diaspora. These two Yehudas now share a commemorative plaque in
a children's park in the land of Israel. On behalf of our entire
family, thank you all for being with us today".
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the commemoratory plaque was
unveiled by Frederic Nordmann as the Moreno family looked on. KKL-JNF
Co-Chairman Avraham Duvdevani awarded certificates of appreciation to
Mr. Frederic Nordmann and the Moreno family, and children from the
local elementary school performed for the audience. After the singing
of Hatikvah, Israel's national anthem, the audience was invited for
Emanuel Moreno, one of Israel's greatest heroes, is survived by his
wife, Maya, and their three children, Avi, Neria and Noam Yisrael, who
planted a tree in his memory in the new park.
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