President Reuven ‘Ruby’ Rivlin visited Nov, a religious moshav in the Golan Heights, on Friday for a condolence call with the family of Maj. Hagai Ben-Ari, who died Tuesday from injuries he suffered while fighting against the Hamas terror organization. He had been slated to become head of the Paratrooper's elite reconnaissance unit.
Ben-Ari was wounded by a sniper's bullet that penetrated his helmet while combating Hamas terrorists during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and had been in a comatose state ever since. On Tuesday night Ben-Ari succumbed to his injuries, leaving behind his wife and three children.
During his visit at the home of Ben-Ari’s parents, President Rivlin met with the bereaved parents, Hanni and Yoni, as well as Ben-Ari’s widow, Moriyah, and the couple’s three children.
“You are a source of pride and strength,” Rivlin told the family.
“Meeting with you is, in a way, almost like meeting with Hagai. It is a window into the soul of an army hero, [a window] into the root of our existence in our land,” the president continued.
“Every empty space left when a soldier is taken from us is an empty space in all of our hearts, and our hearts are broken by the loss of an officer like this.”
Leaders of the Druze community in the Golan also paid their condolences to Ben-Ari’s family, and met with President Rivlin.
“We have our disputes,” said Rivlin, “but the IDF is not just everyone’s army – the IDF is everyone. It is secular and religious, Arabs, Bedouin, Druze, and Circassians. It will always remain that way, I have no doubt about it.”