President Shimon Peres visited on Monday morning the family of Cpl Netanel Yahalomi, who was killed in a gunfight with terrorists on the Egyptian border last Friday.
Peres warmly embraced the family members and praised Netanel for being a hero who, upon being attacked by the terrorists, only thought about fighting them and preventing a greater tragedy.
“He really exceeded his strength,” Peres told the family members. “He raised himself up despite all the limitations of nature. And he was also the first one to fire…he killed the first terrorist.”
Peres added, “It’s Erev Yom Kippur and I think this is really Kiddush Hashem (sanctifying G-d’s name), in the deepest and highest sense of the word, and he probably picked this up from childhood. It doesn’t happen within one day or one night. This was his way. It was his will and it brought deep respect and also great hope.
“I think that every Jew today has to be proud of a young man like that,” Peres told the grieving family members. “I know the grief is great and I understand that nothing can comfort in a situation such as this one, but if there’s a case of Kiddush Hashem in the most true and profound sense of the word, it’s this case. He went out to defend, he went out to rescue others, he didn’t think of himself for one moment.”
During the visit, the deputy commander of the unit in which Netanel served affirmed Peres’ remarks that Netanel had behaved like a true hero.
“The way the terrorists surprised them, they weren’t prepared but they gathered themselves together very quickly,” he said. “They immediately got down and returned fire, and Netanel was the first one to return fire and in fact killed one of the terrorists.”