‘I just want to kiss him one more time,’ grandfather says

Golani soldier St.-Sgt. Moshe Naftali is laid to rest at Mount Herzl; US ambassador attends funeral.

Eilat terror victims laid to rest 311 (photo credit: Isrphoto)
Eilat terror victims laid to rest 311
(photo credit: Isrphoto)
“I just want to kiss him,” the grandfather of St.-Sgt. Moshe Naftali, 22, cried out, as soldiers marched the young man’s flagdraped coffin into the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on Friday.
Friends and family members held back the older man. But then they let him approach the coffin. The grandfather bent down and kissed it.
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The mourners hugged each other, cried and screamed when the coffin was lowered into the grave and bags of dirt were thrown over it.
Moshe, a soldier in the Golani Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion and a resident of the Ofra settlement, was killed when his unit responded to the terror attacks near Eilat on Thursday.
“We all feel your pain. It is the pain of an entire nation that has watched the best of its sons cut down. An entire nation cries for its sons,” IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Rafi Peretz told Naftali’s family.
Of Naftali, he said, “You were filled with the love of Israel and the land. You believe that you were a partner with God in returning Israel to Zion from exile.”
For close to an hour Naftali’s commanders, friends and family members spoke of a young man who was dedicated to his family, his country and his religion.
His younger brother Itamar said, “I can say many things, that you were happy, that you always gave your all, that you always took responsibility, that you always knew what to do in every situation. But everyone who knows you, knows this.”
Moshe was the heroic figure in the house, Itamar said.
“I always thought, wow, what a brother. I really admired you,” he said.
Not wanting his mother to worry, Moshe made light of his activities in the army, Itamar said.

To really know what was going on, “I would listen to your conversations with your friends,” Itamar said.
Moshe was the kind of brother, said Itamar, who took the time, even in the midst of busy moments in the army, to call and check in with his siblings.
“You always worried about me. You wanted to know how I was doing and how I was feeling.
Even when I didn’t call, you would call me,” he said.
“People always told me that in the army, you can lose your religion, but with my brother, it seemed to be the opposite,” said Itamar. He added that his brother always tried to find time to study religious texts.
Briefly taking the microphone, his sister Tiferet, 16, said, “We have not succeeded in waking up from this bad dream. We don’t understand how this happened.”
Her brother didn’t just die, she said. “He fell as a hero on behalf of Israel. Moshe, you are 22, and you won’t grow any older. But inside of me, you will grow. Even when I pass your age, you will remain my older brother forever.”
Their father, Yosef, said that his son had been a quiet, deep and principled person.
When he had to engage in military activities, he somehow managed to find wine and halla to say the blessings.
“I always told him, you don’t have to do everything, you can do less. But he was the kind of person who did everything to the end,” Yosef said, sobbing.
“Even now you did everything through and through.”
Among the hundreds of mourners was US Ambassador Dan Shapiro and his wife, Julie. They laid a wreath on the grave on behalf of the American government.
Naftali is survived by his parents and seven siblings.

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