Daily Israel Report

Bereaved Family and Officer Share Special Connection

Shalom and Esther Hazan lost four of their family members. Arutz Sheva met them, as well as the IDF officer who 'adopted' them.
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 5/8/2012, 5:45 AM

During the recent Memorial Day in Israel, Arutz Sheva visited the home of Shalom and Esther Hazan. Shalom and Esther Hazan’s bereavement story is especially difficult to bear.

They have lost a brother and son who died defending Israel and a daughter and a son-in-law in a tragic accident. The grandchildren who have remained without parents have moved in with their grandparents. Their home is one in which one cannot help but feel the mourning.

“My brother was killed one day before the ceasefire that ended the Six Day War, and my son was killed on September 28, 1980,” Shalom Hazan recalled. “My daughter and her husband were killed on December 3, 1993.”

Esther Hazan said, “We feel the grief all year, it’s not just on Memorial Day. It’s all year long. We feel it every moment, every second. We’re always with them. Our heads are only with them. We only think about them. It’s extremely difficult for us.”

She painfully said that she does not celebrate Independence Day, which for many bereaved families is a very painful transition after Memorial Day – from mourning to celebration.

“The truth is that I don’t have an Independence Day,” she said. “I had two children and I lost them. I was left without children. I don’t have an Independence Day. It’s very difficult for me. I can’t be happy after what happened to me. It doesn’t mean anything that so many years have passed. It’s my entire life.”

Arutz Sheva came to the Hazan family home along with Elik Avrahami, head of the Ground Forces teleprocessing unit. Avrahami visits the Hazans on a regular basis as part of a special project in which officers 'adopt' bereaved families. The bereavement, as well as a special date on the calendar, connected between Avrahami and the Hazan family.

“I am a member of a bereaved family,” Avrahami said. “My father was killed in the Yom Kippur War on the 19th of Tishrei, the tenth day of the war. It comes out during Chol Hamoed Sukkot. In 2005, General Elazar Stern, then the head of the Israeli Human Resources Directorate, issued a call for connecting with bereaved families. After thinking about it, I decided to go for it and I asked to join the project.”

He recalled his first meeting with the Hazans and said, “I was really welcomed with open arms by both Shalom and Esther. And then we sat and talked a bit about their son Ami, about who he was and what he was. And then we got to his date of death, and the date of death is the 19th of Tishrei, which sent shivers down my spine. My date is the 19th of Tishrei, their date is the 19th of Tishrei. At the same meeting, I found out about their daughter Dina and her husband Tzvi who were killed in an accident and about Shalom’s brother, Yitzhak, who died during the Six Day War. I remember coming out of the house with a feeling that is hard for me to describe.”

Shalom said that Avrahami visits the family each Memorial Day and also drops by every few months.

“He comes to visit us and check how we’re doing,” he said. “He always asks about our family and looks after all our needs, and if there’s any problem he solves it. We thank him for everything he does for us.”