Maj. Eliraz Peretz, who was killed in a firefight with terrorists in Gaza Friday, was laid to rest Sunday in the military cemetery at Har Herzl in Jerusalem.
Golani Brigade Commander Col. Avi Peled eulogized Peretz and said: “When I first saw you as a young platoon commander, I saw a man and a commander who loved the country and his fellow man more than anything. We were all shocked when we heard that you were hurt. It is unfathomable that something like that can happen.”
"On second thought, you were always out in front of your soldiers, it was bound to be you who would be hit first,” Peled added.
Eliraz's brother Avichai also eulogized him and said: “You did not go to the army in order to sever the lives of others but to continue the life of the Nation of Israel.”
Eliraz's sister, Bat-El, spoke of the time when the older brother, Uriel, was killed in Lebanon. “When Uriel was killed I was nine and I understood nothing. Now that Eliraz died I understand. It tears the heart. It is a great pain that cannot be explained. My brother Eliraz, after Father died you were like my father. It hurts me so to think that after all the talk and the decisions you will not be there. You will not escort me to the [wedding] chuppah as Father promised to do and as you promised.”
"We stand here and ask for mercy upon the Nation of Israel. I want to ask you for just one thing, my Lord in heaven: this is the third time that You are testing us as a family. The third time that we are burying a father, a brother and another brother. In the years that I am alive I promise you that we will be able to withstand this, too. I want You to give us only celebrations from now on, no funerals, and give us strength to strengthen Eliraz's righteous wife, so that we can tell his children who their father was, what a hero he was and what a righteous man.”
In the short video embedded here, Eliraz's brother asks the gathered to join him in singing a hymn that is taken from the "El Male' Rachamim" prayer of the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. The lyrics are an eight-word portion of that prayer, in which the worshiper asks the Lord to "make this time a time of beneficence and mercy."
The family sang the prayer at their father's funeral too. Put to music by Rabbi Shlomo Kalish, it was a favorite of Eliraz and his father.