Rabbi Doron Perez, Chairman of World Mizrachi and father of the fallen IDF soldier Captain Daniel Perez, spoke with Arutz Sheva - Israel National News about the ordeal of losing his son.

“From 6:45 in the morning until 9:01, he was in his tank with his crew, fighting with incredible bravery. Families we didn't know visited us while we mourned to say that his tank might have made the difference for them. When the second wave of terrorists came, that crew rushed their tank directly at them. It was two and a half hours of incredible heroism.”

At the beginning, Daniel Perez was declared missing and later his definition changed to hostage. Only a few months later, on March 16th, did the IDF declare that Captain Daniel Perez was dead, that he was killed in action on October 7th and that his body is being held by the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip.

When the army officials asked Rabbi Perez to meet, he knew what the knock at his door meant: “I could read between the lines that it wasn't good news. You're never ready for something like that, but we were as ready as we could be. They weren't certain at first, because all they had was a video, but after review by doctors, the ISA, and the Chief Rabbinate, it was declared that there was no doubt it was him, and that he was dead.”

Apart from his own loss, Rabbi Perez shares the pain of other families of hostages. “There are going to be 133 people who will not be at the Seder this year. I've never known such pain in my life, and to know that there are other families feeling that is mind-boggling. We must do everything to bring them back.”

He referred to an important step in the process of negotiating a prisoner exchange deal. “It's harder to see male soldiers as a matter of humanitarian exchange, and we are worried that they might be forgotten. I said there's no greater humanitarian act in the world than a young man or woman who puts their life on the line to save people from an illegal invasion. In a world of political agendas, it's important that our children not fall by the wayside.”

He gives his advice for the approaching holiday: “The Haggadah, in which we read the story of the Exodus at the Seder, isn't just nostalgia - it's happening now. This year, we will once again taste both of the bitter herbs and bread of affliction of of those in Gaza, and the taste of freedom represented by the Passover sacrifice, which it's supposed to be the last taste in our mouths at the end of the night.”