Tel Aviv Memorial Day ceremony: He was my brother, my hero

Shlomo Laniado “was an amazing man, good-hearted, always helped, and he was smart. He loved life, he really loved life,” his younger sister Etti Mansour told The Post next to his grave.

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May 10, 2019 11:03
3 minute read.
Tel Aviv Memorial Day ceremony: He was my brother, my hero

Etti Mansour (L) and Chaim Nechustan (R) next to the grave of Shlomo Laniado who fell in the Yom Kippur War. (photo credit: Courtesy)

For the thousands who made their way to Kiryat Shaul cemetery north of Tel Aviv, Remembrance Day isn’t just one day. It’s every holiday, every birthday. Every day.

From the wars to attacks carried out against troops stationed on her borders, Remembrance Day commemorates the 23,741 soldiers and security personnel who have died serving Israel, and 3,146 victims of terror. Thousands of soldiers are buried in Kiryat Shaul.

Families gathered around the graves of their loved ones, telling their stories. Just walking through the rows upon rows of graves covered in flowers, you hear:

“He was so brave.”

“He was my hero.”

“He lost a lot of blood but he kept on fighting. He never stopped.”

“He was my son, and a son of the nation.”

“He was my hero. He protected me every day... until the end.”

Shlomo Laniado “was an amazing man, good-hearted, always helped, and he was smart. He loved life, he really loved life,” his younger sister Etti Mansour told The Jerusalem Post next to his grave.

Mansour shared her older brother’s story while showing a picture of him on his motorcycle, with a big smile. “He was our king,” she said. “He was so good-looking. He loved everyone, and everyone loved him.”

He was 20 years old and in the middle of the officers’ training course when he was sent to the front lines and killed during the Yom Kippur War, after his tank sustained a direct hit. Mansour said that when her brother was injured and evacuated, she and her family were told not to come to the hospital – his injuries were too severe.

Shlomo Landiado (Credit: ETTI MANSOUR)

He died two weeks later.

His friend Chaim Nechustan was the last person to see “Momo.”

“That’s what we called him,” he said. “In the army we use last names, but we called him Momo.

“We were on our way home from Baad 1 on the bus toward Tel Aviv when all of a sudden we turned around,” he said. “There was a war, we weren’t going home... We got on our tanks and we made our way to Sinai. I was injured before he was killed. He put me on the tank and called me nudnik and brought me to the helicopter. I’m alive because of him. When he got back to the tank, he was hit. It was the same day.”

“It’s not only one day that we remember him,” Mansour said. “It’s every day. Every holiday. Every special event. His death changed everything... in less than a minute, everything changed.”

But while some come with families, others come alone, supported by soldiers and the crowds.

Miri Mintz was nine when her older brother, Shmuel, fell in 1956 during the Suez Crisis.

The 20-year-old paratrooper “was our big brother. He was always next to us, even when he wasn’t at home. He was with us in every way,” Mintz said, looking at her brother’s grave with tears in her eyes. “He was a hero. A model for our family. He had a very dominant personality and he was a leader. I believe he would have continued in the army, or in public service. He wouldn’t have stayed a quiet civilian.”

Shlomo Landiado  (Credit: ETTI MANSOUR)

Mintz, who moved to Israel with her brother and family from Poland in 1950, was alone at the cemetery on Wednesday, but being alone did not stop her from coming.

“As the years pass it’s harder,” she said. “I’m always emotional but I still come.”

Many of the families who came to commemorate their loved ones brought generations of children who never met their uncles or grandfathers.

Avraham Fefer was 27 when he fell in battle in 1954. His sister (who asked to remain anonymous) came with Fefer’s son and granddaughter.

Pointing to her nephew, she told the Post that her brother got married but never met his son, who was born shortly after his death.
“I’ve been coming here every year, not only on Yom Hazikaron.

“My brother and I survived World War II together,” she said next to her brother’s grave. “He protected me. I am alive because of him. I am sure he watches over me and still protects me.”


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