Gוush Katif expellees at cemetery (illustrative)
Gוush Katif expellees at cemetery (illustrative)Hadas Parush/Flash90

Seventeen years ago we arrived at the Mount Herzl military cemetery as a bereaved family for the first time. It was not because we had been bereaved seventeen years ago but because we had had a burial four years before that in the military area of the Gush Katif cemetery and then were uprooted. And we rent our clothes as we had done when we sat shiva.

And we buried our Elkana for the second time, this time at Mount Herzl. We came to Mount Herzl on that Memorial Day hurt, shocked, broken and angry with our hearts bleeding. We stood there shoulder to shoulder in a public and crowded place that was new for us, and listened to those MKs and ministers who had expelled us speaking. And we bowed our heads and listened in silence. Not because we did not want to shout at each and every one of them. We wanted to. Very much.

But because we honored our Elkana. And our brothers, the young Israeli soldiers buried near him. And the exalted and shared mission that brought them to this place.

Dear families, out of the depths of the pain we have felt, we truly understand the pain and anger that accompanies you as you you stand at your dear one's grave this year. But let us leave the cemeteries free of opinions and filled only with pain and our shared fate. And we ask of you, that if a time comes when it is necessary, you be the ones to remind us of that.

Elad Oran Gobi is a graduate of Elkana Teachers College and makes his home in Shiloh. His siblings joined him in writing this in memory of their brother Elkana Hy"d.

Translation by Rochel Sylvetsky