German Reshkov Simionov, father of fallen soldier German Rojikov, landed Wednesday at Ben-Gurion Airport after fleeing to Moldova from Ukraine.
Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who knew his son from his army career, was shocked to see Reshkov Simionov and his wife among the thousands of refugees from Ukraine on the border with Moldova.
"This is a closure," he said: "20 years after the son guarded the lives of the Shomron citizens, we were able to pay back the favor to his father."
Reshkov Simionov was welcomed in a ceremonial reception at Ben Gurion, with Defense Ministry and Jewish Agency representatives in attendance.
"There is nothing compared to the Jewish people, and there is nothing like the State of Israel that my son died defending," he said. "The State of Israel is like heaven; it is the only country that manages to save her citizens in the middle of this chaos.
"At my toughest moment I met Dagan, who helped my wife and I immensely. I have no words to express my gratitude," he tearfully said.
Dagan was in Ukraine as part of a delegation to help Jewish refugees flee through the Ukraine-Moldova border.
"I knew German's son when he served in the army," said Dagan at the reception. "He was a decorated officer who protected the citizens of the Shomron. He was a hero of Israel. Your son guarded our citizens and all citizens of Israel – you will never be alone again. Welcome home.
"This is a very moving closure and display of gratitude to a man who sacrificed his life for the security of our country. I am thrilled we could help his father arrive safely here and save him from the harsh sights in Ukraine," he said.
"Our door is open to whoever is in need. We will continue to escort German's family in their absorption."
Yaakov Hagoel, CEO of the World Zionist Organization and acting director of the Jewish Agency, said that they are getting "a large hug from Jerusalem in the name of all the Jewish people. The Jewish Agency for Israel leads one of the greatest operations in recent years: to bring all Jewish refugees from Ukraine to Israel. The State of Israel has a moral duty for those who fell for her in battle."
The Reshkov-Simionovs will live in a hotel in Netanya for a short while, and then be relocated to Shaked, village in the north of Shomron.