Dalia Emanueloff, whose son Dvir was the first Israeli soldier to fall during Operation Cast Lead, spoke Sunday to Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service, and clarified a story circulating online about her, her son, and a young baby bearing his name.
The story began on Dvir's birthday last summer, Dalia said. It was a particularly hard day, she recalled. “I turned to G-d and asked, 'Send me a sign,'” she said. With that, she fell asleep.
Three weeks later, Dalia accompanied her daughter to the Chutzot Hayotzer Arts and Crafts festival in Jerusalem. She had turned down an earlier invitation to the event in order to come with her daughter on that particular day, when singer Meir Banai was to perform.
Shortly before the performance began, a young boy tapped Dalia on the shoulder. “I asked what his name was, and he said 'Eshel.' I asked, 'Would you like to be my friend, Eshel?' He said 'Yes.' We spoke until suddenly his father, who had been watching, said, 'Eshel, would you like to come sit with me and Dvir?'”
Struck by the baby's name, Dalia approached the father and asked how old the baby was, and whether he had been born before or after Cast Lead. The father answered that the baby was half a year old, and had been born shortly after the counter-terror offensive. Dalia then asked how they had chosen the name Dvir, and the father replied, “Because that was the name of the first soldier who fell during the operation...”
At that point, Dalia identified herself as Dvir Emanueloff's mother. The parents of Eshel and Dvir were surprised, but were quickly convinced that she was telling the truth. “They told me they had wanted to invite me to the brit [ritual circumcision – ed.], but they did not know if it would take place on time,” Dalia said. “I told them see, they didn't need to invite me to the brit, because I came to see them anyway.
Then baby Dvir's mother, Shiri, said something “that was a powerful sign for me,” Dalia recalled. “She said, 'Dvir is sending you a big hug through us.' At that moment, I felt that Dvir was with me and G-d was with me,” she said.
The two families exchanged phone numbers. Dalia spoke again with Shiri, who related that as she approached the end of her pregnancy with Dvir, doctors suddenly revealed that the baby was likely to suffer from a serious defect. When she came home following her appointment with the doctor, she heard about Dvir Emanueloff's death, and decided that if her baby was born healthy, she would name him Dvir.
Since then, young Eshel and Dvir and their parents have accompanied the Emanueloff family to memorials, and to the dedication of a Torah scroll in Dvir's memory. On Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron), Dalia told the story of her son Dvir, and then of her meeting with his namesake.
"We feel like there's something new here, there's a continuation of Dvir's story,” Dalia said.
Video: Dvir and his comrades dance together before entering the Gaza Strip (Courtesy of the Emanueloff family)