Aharon Karov with the Reins
Aharon Karov with the ReinsPhoto courtesy of Dovi Rein

The town of Karnei Shomron in Samaria (Shomron) hosted a race Friday in memory of Benaya Rein, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War. The race in Benaya’s memory has become an annual event.

Among those racing was Aharon Karov, who famously went to war in Gaza the day after his wedding. He was critically wounded in battle, but recovered and this year managed to run in the New York City marathon.

During the memorial race Friday, Karov met with Benaya Rein’s parents and gave them the medal he had won in the marathon.

He told them, “This week I did the New York marathon. It’s something that gives you the power to keep going. Races in general, and Benaya’s race in particular, have something that gives you the strength to overcome the difficulties we’re always facing in life. Even when it’s hard, even when we have no energy left.”

Benaya’s mother Hagit said Karov’s gesture had come as a surprise. “Aharon Karov really moved me. I didn’t know he was coming up to give us the medal,” she said.

“He had told us he was going to the marathon in New York and would dedicate it to Benaya… He said Benaya’s spirit gave him strength. Now his medal is hanging on the wall next to Benaya’s medal from the Paris marathon,” she said.

Benaya died in 2006. Before he died, he managed to save several fellow Israeli soldiers in Lebanon.

When Aharon Karov was wounded two years later, Hagit Rein recalled, she prayed for his recovery – and asked Benaya’s spirit to intercede on Aharon’s behalf, as well.

“Three years ago, when he wasn’t fully recovered yet, we held the race and [Aharon] came to me and asked me what distance I wanted him to run,” she recalled. “I told him – run five kilometers. He told me, ‘You’re like my parents – but I’ll run 10 kilometers.’”

The race is always an emotionally difficult time, but also immensely rewarding, she added. “There have been people Benaya saved when they were injured soldiers, and that’s very hard… These are the things that strengthen us, but require strength – but it gives more than it takes,” she explained.