Rabbi Benny Kalmanson
Rabbi Benny KalmansonArutz Sheva

Rabbi Benny Kalmanson, one of the heads of the Otniel Yeshiva, joined a group of bereaved families and families of hostages to Be’eri, where his son, Elhanan, fell while fighting bravely with his brother and nephew to save the residents of the kibbutz who were under fire on October 7th.

Arutz Sheva-Israel National News spoke to Rabbi Kalmanson about his feelings during the visit, which was held as part of the initiative to sign the "Bereshit Treaty."

“The feeling,” says Rabbi Kalmanson, "was both painful and uplifting because of what they did here. It was also happy knowing what we are doing here now, which I hope will amend the Israeli reality a bit, or at least give an opening for some kind of improvement."

On the emotions expressed by kibbutz residents, as well as residents of other kibbutzim, that residents of Judea and Samaria came on their own initiative to save them, and some even paid for it with their lives, Rabbi Kalmanson says that he believes that this is not relevant at all and he did not think about it until several days later when it was brought up before the family as if it was a surprising incident.

"The truth is that we didn't think about this and I don't think we need to think about it either. The Jewish people have already proven that in difficult times they are beyond such things. Let’s just leave this aside. It's completely unnecessary," adds Rabbi Kalmanson.

As for his feeling of pain in view of the rescue operation led by his two sons, an operation that resulted in the rescue of over a hundred residents of the kibbutz, Rabbi Kalmanson says that he is "in pain, but proud. We saw a baby born after he saved a woman in the forty-first week of her pregnancy. It makes us very happy, and she has become like our granddaughter." However, Rabbi Kalmanson believes that their family story is nothing more than another routine Israeli story, that only gained publicity because it is about two brothers and a nephew.

"There are countless stories like this. Leave our private story aside. We should be excited about our young generation," he says, and referring to the ability to preserve unity even in the days after the war, Rabbi Kalmanson expresses hope that this will indeed continue, although we cannot be sure. "We will try. I am optimistic. We do this first of all by changing the discourse and the manner in which the discourse is conducted, creating ways to solve problems and disputes that have always existed and always will be, and knowing how to value and respect each person and their beliefs. We will continue to argue about many issues, but we will never argue about human beings.”