Israeli Consul General of the Southwest United States Gilad Katz spoke on Wednesday night in San Antonio, Texas at the Cornerstone Church's "A Night to Honor Israel."
Pastor Matt Hagee introduced Katz, listing Katz's past positions and noting that he serves as Consul General for six states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Katz began his own speech by praising and honoring his hosts, Pastor Hagee and his wife, and thanking them for hosting him.
"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart in the name of the State of Israel," he began. "Your congregation is no less than inspirational. Pastor Hagee, you have founded an amazing and unique organization, Christians United for Israel, an organization that donates millions of dollars to Israeli institutions such as schools, hospitals, charity funds, and many more."
"According to Jewish law, giving charity to our fellow person is one of the most noble acts a human being can create. I am not a rabbi, but even so, I feel it is appropriate to exploit this moment and say, 'Bless the work of thy hands and hearts, that make this planet a better place for all of us.'
"On a personal note, it is an honor for me to stand here in front of you all, as the Consul General of the State of Israel. Thank you."
Katz then described a childhood friend of his, the daughter of "an ordinary Israeli Jewish family," Efrat Ungar.
The night Efrat married Yaron Ungar in 1993 was the same night where, half a world away, the Oslo Accords were being signed. During the three years of their marriage, Efrat and Yaron became the parenbs of two sons: Dvir and Yishai, and settled in Kiryat Arba, near the Cave of the Patriarchs.
In June 1996, the two went to a friend's wedding, taking Yishai with them and leaving Dvir with Efrat's parents in Gush Etzion. On their way back from the wedding, Palestinian Arab terrorists ambushed them on the road and emptied dozens of bullets into the family's car.
Efrat and Yaron were killed, and the car veered off the side of the road, remaining undetected until a passing car happened to notice its headlights and stopped to offer help. Medics and police officers arrived, but there was nothing left to do: Both Efrat and Yaron were dead.
Searching the car, the medics found little Yishai in his car seat, unharmed and without a scratch.
Efrat's parentsת Rabbi Uri and Yehudit Dasberg, raised the boys, and when Uri was killed in a car crash in 2011, her mother continued raising the children on her own. Dvir was recently released from the army, and Yishai is engaged to be married.
Efrat was a creative and talented graphic artist, a graduate of Emunah College in Jerusalem. She was famous for her weekly caricatures and for several extremely popular cartoon-type children's books she had already managed to publish and which consisted of gently humorous stories starring her son Dvir. Efrat's mother saw to the books' reprintings and they continue to be popular with children.
In 2003, a US federal court ruled the Palestinian Authority and Hamas must pay the family $116 million in compensation.