Miriam Peretz with Netanyahu
Miriam Peretz with Netanyahu Amos Ben Gershom / Flash 90

Miriam Peretz, an Israeli heroine whose lost two of her sons on IDF battlefields, turned down a personal offer by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to be placed in a high spot on Likud's Knesset list for the next elections.

Peretz’s son Eliraz was killed in 2010 near the Gaza border. Another son, Uriel, was killed in Lebanon in late 1998.

Peretz told IDF Radio Tuesday that Netanyahu's offer came "ten minutes before the start of the Sabbath” and that Netanyahu told her to take her time in answering, and did not pressure her. 

"The prime minister called me and said that he would like to see me join the ranks, and yesterday I told him 'no,'” she said. “My only consideration is that becoming involved in politics will cause me to stray off the path that I have chosen.”

She explained "nothing comes close to spending the Sabbath with the IDF soldiers on the Mount of Olives,” referring to the educational activities she devotes her life to, in talks with soldiers and youths.

Peretz said that she meets with an average of 1,000 youths and soldiers every week. By answering questions from youths who want to know "why should I serve in the IDF?", she insisted, she is doing more for Israel than she could from the Knesset.

“I need the personal touch, it keeps me alive,” she added. “I will not have that when I am sealed off inside the Knesset. I pray to G-d to give me strength to continue and light the heritage of the fallen – not just of my sons, but of all of the fallen soldiers of this country. They fell so that we can be worthy, so that we build a country that seeks kindness, and that yearns for this peace, already. I am doing it my way.”

Peretz was one of 12 women who lit a torch earlier this year at the traditional torch lighting ceremony on Mount Herzl, which opens the Independence Day celebrations.

In meetings with congregations and youths, Peretz tells audiences that despite everything she has been through in her life, she feels great pride to live in Israel, and she wakes up every morning with joy in her heart.She calls on the youths to "walk with your heads held high, proud to be Jewish."

Channel 2 noted somewhat cynically that Peretz lives in the Binyamin region, and claimed that by offering her a spot on Likud's list, Netanyahu was hoping to pull in votes from the religious Zionist “settler” sector, which otherwise possibly could go to Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Home.

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