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Li-el did not have to die

August 5, 2014


Li-el Gidoni died Friday and we buried him Sunday evening. Three salvos saw him on his way. Though they loved him, Li-el irritated the other sergeants by smiling all the time at his basic training soldiers. He was expected to be tough, but what can you do? The kid was born with an inspiring smile, and he got the job done. And so devoted….3 parallel tracks in high school, the person you leaned on and sought out. Teachers were proud of him. Returned to his school after graduation to volunteer, helping other students. Beloved youngest of four sons. Following his brothers to the army’s most challenging and demanding units, on his way to becoming a doctor. Knew where he was going. This tender boy.


The speakers…his home-room teacher, and his big brother spoke, and others. And each remembered Li-el as always seeing the cup half full. His cup is now all empty.


There were so many people in the graveyard. We were all so sad, and you couldn’t breathe for the grief in the air. I went out to the forest, then returned to the cemetery at dusk, and I was alone with Li-el. The chairs were stacked, the wreaths on the other five fresh graves beside him, withered quickly in these blazing Jerusalem days. And there was a photo of Li-el, among the mound of flowers. A beaming, joyous boy in a uniform, flashing us the V for victory.


Li-el did not have to die.


We have such short memories. Only three months ago, John Kerry brought his authenticity and decency here, diplomatically making his way through our morass. The man we on the left had been waiting for, a secretary of state with a determined president behind him who wants to do what’s right and earn his Nobel prize. The April 29 deadline arrived, Netanyahu, horrified that he will be forced to do what making peace is about, blew the thing apart, first reneging on the promised release of the 4th group of prisoners, and the next day announcing the building of 700 new units in the territories. Then seizing on the kidnapping of the three boys and withholding the fact of their deaths to justify frenetic anti-Hamas escalation in the West Bank. Hamas never was proven to have committed the kidnapping. But Netanyahu knows the chaos and killing will undermine the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, and this he must achieve. And then the bodies are found and buried, and the next day, Mohammed Abu Khdeir is burned to death, on the other side of the hill from where Li-el is buried.


And the territories boiled with rage, the rockets from Gaza intensified, more Israelis suffered, the air-force went wild, rockets flew at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and bang, we had our Gulf of Tonkin and charged our troops into Gaza, with Li-el always forward, his commander’s radio man.


Listen, Netanyahu. You have not fooled us this time. You are doing evil.  What is evil? When you know that something you are about to do will hurt people, and you do it anyway. You hate peace. The thought horrifies you, relinquishing 22% of Palestine to the Palestinians, so that they can make a state, have a life, finally give us security born of their security. It could cost you your job.


Friday, it cost Li-el his life.





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One Comment
  1. Very strong Yoav.

    May he rest in peace.

    Sent from my iPhone

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