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July 21, 2014 9:22 am
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Peres to the 3 Children of Fallen IDF Major Greenberg: ‘Your Father Was a Hero Who Risked His Life and Fought Like a Lion’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Israeli President Shimon Peres hugging the father of fallen IDF soldier Eitan Barak. Photo: Mark Neiman / GPO.

Israeli President Shimon Peres hugging the father of fallen IDF soldier Eitan Barak. Photo: Mark Neiman / GPO.

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday visited the families of some of the 13 Israeli Defense Forces soldiers who died in combat at the weekend during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

Peres said, “We have only option, to be victorious and avoid a massacre in the communities around Gaza through the terror tunnels. Through one of the tunnels a group of terrorists came into a kibbutz, their aim was to kill as many of the members as possible. It’s another brutal attack without reason or purpose. It could have been a great tragedy.”

“We aren’t interested in any wars; we don’t consider the people of Gaza our enemies,” he said. “I saw the pictures from Gaza and they are terrible but the ones that can stop them are the terrorists in Gaza, Hamas are responsible. When a ceasefire was suggested we agreed. It is in their hand to stop the bloodshed.”

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Peres said, “These visits are a sad moment for us and it is an indescribable feeling to have children like this who are ready to sacrifice their lives out of conviction that they were going to prevent the loss of life on both sides.”

At the home of Major Amotz Greenberg, Peres hugged his widow, Sagit, and told his three children: “Your father was a hero who risked his life and fought like a lion. You should be proud of him. I can say on behalf of the entire nation that we salute your father and we are grateful to him.”

President Peres then turned to Ori, aged 12, and said, “I heard you speak yesterday at your father’s funeral, I could hear your father through your voice, full of love and dedication – these are the values which strengthen the State of Israel.”

At the end of the visit Peres said, “This is visit full of sadness, I am seeing the strength of Israel. I have no doubt that Israel will be victorious. If not for Amotz and his fellow soldiers, if not for the IDF uncovering the tunnels then we would have paid an even higher price.”

The family of Staff Sgt. Banya Rovel told Peres: “Banya loved his country and was committed to serving it, he was a hero and a leader, he was named after one of King David’s heroes in the bible. We wanted him to be a hero, but not like this.”

The father of IDF soldier Eitan Barak told Peres, “Eitan instantly connected with everyone, he loved everyone, he was modest and sensitive.” He then said, “I always wanted to meet you Mr. President but I never thought it would be like this.”

Peres said to the family, “I am so proud to sit here, I am so proud of your incredible son, an unstoppable man.”

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