Seven years without Eran

Doron Almog released this tribute on January 21, 2014.

Doron Almog and his son Eran (photo credit: COURTESY OF ALEH)
Doron Almog and his son Eran
(photo credit: COURTESY OF ALEH)
Our beloved Eran. Seven years without you. A prince of purity. My enigmatic child. A young adult who will always remain an innocent child, who never complains about anything, and never utters a cry.
Today you would have been 30 years old, an uncle to Yali, Ori and Karni, who never even knew you.
For them too, you will remain an enigma and a charge to create tikkun olam, bringing the world to its perfection.
Every week, when I visit the village that bears your name, I gaze at the picture of you from Yom Ha’atzmaut 2006: a 22-year-old youth clutching a Dig Dig Dog videocassette from the age of three, a broad, toothy smile, and an Israeli flag waving above. You smiled about things that brought you joy, but we never knew their source or explanation.
When I was 30 years old, I was already the battle- weary commander of a parachute troop, and the father of Nitzan, your older sister.
You refused to follow the path taken by most children.
You chose to remain aloof and distant, and almost always you could be seen with the Dig Dig Dog cassette in hand. It was as if you trod an invisible course that most ordinary children never set foot on. You took us on mysterious paths, full of pitfalls and challenges, but you also gave us a marvelous compass to help us navigate our way through the obstacle course. A compass that had only one word written on it: love. And then, later on, one small sentence: “Love your fellow man as yourself.”
And I, who knew many wars in my lifetime, found myself embroiled in a new battle, the most terrible and difficult of them all. A battle to legitimize the place of children like you in the world, a battle to break down thick walls of prejudice and stereotypes. A battle to achieve social justice and a future filled with hope for children like you, and in fact, for all of us. A battle to change the face of society.
The longer your silence stretched out, the more power you gave me.
And in moments of pain, frustration, and confusion, I found myself embracing the marvelous compass you entrusted with me and continuing to make my way forward, to earn one more hug from you, my beloved son, Eran.