My friend, Emmanuel Moreno: 11 years since the sniper's bullet

Israel's Education Minister mourns his fellow commando unit fighter, cut down by a sniper's bullet at the end of the 2nd Lebanon War, and sends a message to students. (Note: The IDF blurs Moreno's face due to his highy classified missions.)

Minister Naftali Bennett

OpEds הענקת הצל"ש לסיירת מטכ"ל
הענקת הצל"ש לסיירת מטכ"ל
Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Eleven years ago, on Saturday night, days after we left the Second Lebanon War behind us and were able to relax at last, I turned on my mobile phone and found a huge number of messages from my friends: 

"Quick, call back, emergency, something terrible has happened!."

I immediately called Ben, a fellow IDF commando squad member.

"Emmanuel was killed," he said.  "The funeral is tonight in Jerusalem."

Our Emmanuel: Giora Squad, August 1990, Sayeret Matkal *

Emmanuel Moreno, the valiant fighter

Ethical Emmanuel, so caring, always ready to help

Unassuming Emmanuel, careful not to show off his uniform and rank

Funny Emmanuel, with his practical jokes

Mia's,  Avia's, Neria's and Noam Yisrael's Emmanuel

His parents' and brothers' Emmanuel

Our Emmanuel is gone

My young friends, there is one thing you can each take from Emmanuel

I won't tell you of our shared experiences in the backbreaking unit in which we trained together

I won't tell the tales of his bravery and courage

I won't even show you how he looked

But there's just one thing you should know -

Emmanuel succeeded because he tried harder

In the beginning of the commando unit's training period, he was "ordinary," not unusual in any field, not in scouting, hitting the target, or physical prowess

How did he go from an ordinary soldier to the giant he became?

Because he worked hard to be better

All the time

From one scouting mission to the next, from one drill to the next, he worked

He  never stopped, never took a break

He gave his all for our beloved country

And so can you

In any field you choose

People are not born successful, they work hard to be successful

Work! Make that special effort!

Emmanuel, my brother, how I miss you.


Emmanuel was killed on August 19, 2006. The Hebrew date is. כ"ה מנחם אב התשס"ו, which falls on Wednesday, August 16,this year.

For Emmanuel's story, click here. and here.

(*Sayeret Matkal: General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, a special forces unit of the IDF)

Translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky