Amitai Sherki
Amitai Sherki Eliran Aharon

Amitai Sherki, the brother of Shalom Sherki, who was murdered in a terrorist attack in 2015, spoke frankly about his complicated relationship with his murdered brother in a speech at the One Family organization on Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

Shalom Sherki was killed when a terrorist deliberately rammed into a bus stop by French Hill in Jerusalem on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day in 2015.

"We were brothers like all the brothers," Amitai said. "[We were] loving, complemented [each other] many times. My memories of him are of a big and strong brother who had already lived a full life."

He continued: "As I grew up, our relationship was undermined and became complex. Shalom and myself, we did not get along and we fought a lot. It started with small arguments and grew to encompass debates about more serious matters. During this period we hardly spoke and actually cut ourselves off from each other."

"There were flare ups and quarrels between us. Once in one of the fights, Shalom held me and said, 'I know we are fighting now, and maybe it does not look like this, but I love you.' I did not know how to internalize that sentence, and I sealed up my heart before him. After that I did not speak with him for half a year.

Amitai explained that less than a week before the murderous terror attack, he met Shalom one last time. "It was an awkward, silent meeting." During this meeting, Amitai did not know how to approach his brother, while Shalom he tried to bridge the gap between them. "Even then I did not let my real feelings out and remained indifferent.

Three days later Shalom was murdered.

"On the night of the murder, we arrived at the hospital and we were with him in the last few hours, and at the moment of death I asked for forgiveness, but it felt a bit too late for me. Over the past two years I have been walking around with a sense of guilt and a sense that there was a terrible missed opportunity that my brother Shalom left this world and we had still not patched things up. I did not manage to say sorry, to say hello and embrace him. I have a feeling of something missing because I did not feel like a loving brother the way he felt about me," Amitai said.

"I felt guilty about the way this ended and about my behavior towards him. I could not go on like this and decided to write him a letter and ask for forgiveness," Amitai said, adding that he had been unable to mourn his brother and experience the loss. "I am sorry that I did not let us embrace each other as loving brothers. I have decided to continue our relationship, to feel him with me, to miss and cry for him."

Amitai related how for a long time he did not feel comfortable reading the letter he wrote, but a year ago he felt that he could not hold on to these feelings any longer. He went to Shalom's grave, read the letter, cried, and from then on he could remember his brother without feeling guilty.

"Shalom, forgive me," said Amitai. "Today Shalom and I have found a way and a connection of our own - without mediators, and today I can live with the loss and allow myself to mourn and miss my brother." He noted that during this period he also has the ability to gather strength from the complex story of the bond he has with his murdered brother. "I want and hope that I will continue to receive strength from Shalom, from his way of life and my yearning to be with him again, and from our experiences together, good and bad. Today I stand and feel that I can wholeheartedly say goodbye, I also love you," he concluded.

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