Twenty-five years have passed since the kidnapping and murder of Sergeant Nachshon Wachsman by terrorists. In an interview with Ma'ariv, Nachshon's mother Esther talks about that difficult period in her life.
She told about the moment that the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin arrived at the family's home shortly before Nachshon's funeral.
"Rabin said: 'I accept all responsibility.' He came on Saturday night, just before we buried Nachshon. My husband Yehudah requested that everyone leave the room including the IDF Chief of Staff at the time, Ehud Barak. My husband wanted to be alone in the room with Rabin."
"He said to him: 'You are responsible, you didn't prepare the operation well, you didn't do everything you could.' Rabin left crying. I was a little ashamed. He left from my husband crying, he took responsibility, and I know he felt very bad. When he left the house, the neighbors shouted: 'Traitor, traitor.'"
"From the time of the murder, Rabin called us every Shabbat eve and holiday eve. We had a very close relationship with him."
Wachsman, with a gun to his head, was videoed asking Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to release Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and 200 other security prisoners as a condition that he wouldn't be murdered.
On Friday, October 14, 1994, just hours before the ultimatum expired, elite IDF commandos from the Sayeret Matkal special forces unit, commanded by Captain Nir Poraz, burst into the house where Wachsman was being held. They eliminated the terrorists but found Wachsman dead with his arms and legs bound. Twelve commandos were wounded. Poraz, 23, who led the commandos into the house was killed.
In another interview with Israel Hayom, the bereaved father Yehuda Wachsman said, "Nachshon was 19, a symbol of innocence. He wanted to protect the state of Israel, the Jewish people and the Torah of Israel in our ancient tradition and met his death at the hands of a Hamas terrorist squad. He served in Lebanon for six months against Hezbollah."
"While Nachshon was in captivity, many people went to the Western Wall - of all denominations, religious and secular - and prayed for his rescue. There was great unity among the Jewish people.
"This is what I wanted our leaders to learn from this - that we must unite in order to establish a government in the near future - to remember the era of Nachshon."
Wachsman added that "a Sayeret Matkal unit went to save Nachshon without asking if he belonged to the National Religious Party or a different party. They were ready to sacrifice their lives to save an Israeli soldier and it didn't matter where he was from or what he belonged to. Somehow, after 25 years, this phenomenon, of mutual responsibility and sacrifice, one soldier for another, has weakened. We've grown apart - a great danger to our existence in this country."