Israeli children deal with tragedy and continue soldier's legacy

Sgt. Eliyahu Drori, died in tank accident saving comrade Nerya Buchris; teacher and boys from Drori's school close circle in moving video.

Mordechai Sones ,

Nerya Buchris reading students' get-well cards
Nerya Buchris reading students' get-well cards
Yaakov Citron

When Sha'alvim hesder yeshiva student Sergeant Eliyahu Drori, 20, was killed in a tank accident in April, English teacher at Ahavat Yisrael Banim and Orot Etzion in Neve Daniel Tzippy Erblich wrote in a Facebook post of the effect the death had on her own family and even herself.

Drori and Erblich's son met in fifth grade in Ahavat Yisrael and had been friends and army comrades until Drori's tragic death.

Erblich saw supreme importance in helping her students at the same school where Drori and her son once learned to process the tragedy and channel the emotional momentum into constructive healing: "We lost a hero," Erblich said at the time. "I very much wanted to find a positive way for my students to cope with the tragedy, so the idea to produce a video was born.

"A teacher can't do much with deaths," she said, noting that Drori was the first soldier killed who came from her neighborhood in Ramat Beit Shemesh and who attended elementary school in Ahavat Yisrael. "He learned with my son, and he was always in our house - like a son."

Erblich explains that Drori gave life to save another soldier, Nerya Buchris, when their tank was on fire. "Eliyahu took the fire extinguisher to save Nerya but the fumes from the extinguisher killed Eliyahu. The army investigation recommended no safety improvements for the tanks because for this to happen was a one-in-a-million chance - a fluke.

"I thought of the idea of kids writing and sending get-well cards to Nerya, and he would be their connection to Elyahu.

"But I didn't want to just send cards; they were coming in from all over country. I wanted to Nerya to see how children feel and I especially wanted him to see the effort to honor Eliyahu's memory, so I approached Yaakov Citron of Citron Films, who is very involved in helping community youth, and asked for help to make this project happen."

Erblich reports that both Nerya Buchris and Mrs. Drori who lost her son were moved and affected by the video. She urges people to vote for the video and help its dissemination by using the button on the right-upper hand of the video after clicking in: "It is my hope that whoever views this video will feel empowered to act in a positive manner towards their fellow Jew," said Tzippy Erblich.

Eliyahu Drori; courtesy of the family
Funeral of Eliyahu Drori Picture: Eliran Aharon


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