Towards the end of the visit we could see a convoy of helicopters going in and out of Gaza. These were transport helicopters. It was clear that there had been an incident inside Gaza and the injured were being transported out of the battle zone.
It was only later in the day, as I returned to my neighborhood that I learned that my neighbor’s son, Yonatan Netanel, did not make it. Yonatan Netanel was a paratrooper recently married, husband of Tziona and father to 3 month old Ma’ayan. It was at 05:30, as he was studying Torah, that Rabbi Amos Netanel heard a knock at the front door. There were the officers who were to inform him of his son’s death.
At that same time Lt. Matan Elmaliach (son of our colleague from the RASHI FOUNDATION Meir Elmaliach), currently in Gaza, was informed via the military radio that his wife had just given birth to a healthy baby boy.
Today, as I dropped my boys at school I was confronted by the effects of the war, twice.
The first was a big notice in the entrance of the school informing us of Captain Yonatan Netanel’s death.
The second was the presence of children from the southern communities joining the classes in Jerusalem, as their schools were closed until after the war. It was gratifying to see that solutions can be found in spite of the upheavals of war.
Yonatan Netanel, together with thousands of our children, went into this war to help give a better future for Matan Elmaliach’s and every other newborn child and all citizens, to provide security for over a million Israelis that live under threat and fire, some for almost eight years.