Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi visited the family of fallen soldier Eliraz Peretz on Sunday. Peretz and 21-year-old Ilan Sviatkovsky were killed Friday in a shootout with Gaza terrorists. Eliraz was survived by a wife and four children, his widowed mother, and four siblings.
Miriam Peretz, Eliraz's mother, reminded the Chief of Staff, “Gabi, you've been in this house before.” She referred to the fact that Eliraz's older brother, Uriel, was killed in southern Lebanon in 1998.
After the visit, Ashkenazi told journalists, “It's an honor to command soldiers like Uriel and Eliraz, and the people of Israel should be proud that they have soldiers and commanders like these two brothers.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited the bereaved family as well. “The entire nation grieves with you in your loss. Your strength and noble spirit bring us together and give us strength,” he told them.
Ashkenazi also visited the area in which Peretz and Sviatkovsky were killed and spoke to soldiers there. “You are the wall that stands between the terrorists and our towns,” he told them.
There are likely to be more clashes with terrorists in the future, Ashkenazi cautioned, and the IDF must prepare for them. Regarding Friday's clash, he said, “It is important to investigate each incident and learn from it.”
"It is very sad to lose the best of our commanders and our soldiers, but we will continue to fight so the Jewish people can live here in peace,” he concluded.
The Chief of Staff also visited Guy Almakayis, who was severely wounded in the incident but is now out of danger.