Second Kissufim bomb victim buried

Soldier's deaf parents eulogize him in sign language: "We didn't want you to go to a combat unit."

soldier 224 (photo credit: IDF [reproduction])
soldier 224
(photo credit: IDF [reproduction])
During his lifetime, Sgt. Liran Banai, 20, of the Givati Brigade was often the voice for his hearing-impaired parents and helped them communicate with the world around them. On Sunday afternoon, his parents, Guy and Gila, had to manage without him as they spoke at his graveside of the three days of a hopeful hospital vigil that had come to a bitter end that morning, when he died of the wounds he sustained Thursday while on a jeep patrol along the Gaza border. Palestinians used a remote control to detonate an improvised explosive device that destroyed the jeep, wounding two of the soldiers and killing a Beduin soldier whose name has been withheld out of fear for his family's safety. At Banai's funeral in his hometown of Ashkelon, his parents relayed the unease they had felt in the last hours of their son's life. They shared their story in sign language, which was interpreted for the hundreds of mourners who gathered in shock at the cemetery. "We wanted everything to be all right," said Guy. "This morning around 3:30, my wife didn't feel well. We got up, and we wanted to see what Liran's condition was," he said. They were told it had not changed, and they settled into an uneasy sleep, he said. "At 7 a.m., we wanted to see him," so they went to the hospital, Guy said. "The doctor came and said, 'The situation is serious, serious. I cannot save him; we tried as much as we could," recalled Guy. When the time came for their son to be drafted into the army, Guy said, he and Gila had not wanted him to join a combat unit. "But you asked, and we wanted to respect [your wishes]. You were very happy. It was important for you to protect your country," Guy said. His commander said that Liran could have been exempted from combat duty because of his family situation, but had chosen not to because of his dedication to his country. His grandmother, however, adamantly told the crowd that when the time came, Liran's younger brother, Tamir, now 12, would not go into the army. "We need him here at home," she said. Liran's younger sister Yamit said that she and Tamir had always been very proud of him. "We told everyone about you. Now we don't know how we'll live without you," she said. His mother added, "Everything you did was from the heart, with a lot of patience and respect. What is left to us is our love for you. We love you." As the sun set, friends and relatives were reluctant to leave the grave, which was heaped with flowers. Many of the mourners crouched on the ground, placed their heads amid the petals and kissed the grave. Others simply sat by it with their heads buried in their arms, in tears. At Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, where Banai had been treated, trauma unit head Dr. Gad Shaked said that "he was clinically dead when he arrived at the hospital by ambulance. Anybody else would have declared him dead, but we did everything we could to try to save him." Banai, who drove the jeep, lost one of his legs in the blast, and the other, which had been partially amputated by the explosion, was removed in the hospital. Banai lost a great deal of blood, even though IDF medics applied a tourniquet. In the few minutes it took for him to be evacuated by helicopter, he was not given blood. "There isn't much they could have done in those few minutes, as he was bleeding so heavily and had open fractures," Shaked told The Jerusalem Post. "The military medics were working under very difficult conditions. A Magen David Adom ambulance team would have done pretty much the same. We are very sorry that he died."