President Shimon Peres on Wednesday paid his first condolence call in his present capacity.
Peres traveled to Yuvalim in the Galilee to comfort the family of St. Sgt. Arbel Yitzhak Reich, 21, of the Givati Brigade's Reconnaissance Battalion, who last Thursday was the first Israeli soldier to be killed in battle in Gaza since November 2006.
Peres asked members of Reich's family to share their memories with him and to tell him about Reich's life, his character and the things he liked to do.
At the conclusion of the long visit, Reich's father, Moshe, told Peres that he was well aware that visiting the families of fallen soldiers was one of the obligations that the presidents of Israel have taken upon themselves. "I pray that this may be the first and the last time that you have to do this throughout your term of office," he said.
Arbel Reich had been a popular figure at Misgav High School, where he took a keen interest in geography. He played on the local basketball team; his other great love was music. He was a promising drummer.
His mother, Yael Reich, is the director of Partnership 2000 Karmiel-Misgav - Pittsburgh and Kfar Vradim - Belgium.