‘You Should Have Had to Bury Me, Not I You,’ Father Says at Funeral of IDF Soldier Killed by Rock
An Israeli soldier killed overnight Monday in a rock-throwing incident was laid to rest on Tuesday, with his father saying, “You should have had to bury me, not I you.”
First Sgt. Amit Ben-Yigal, 21, died after being struck in the face by a large stone thrown from a rooftop while taking part in an anti-terror mission in the West Bank village of Ya’bad with his elite Golani Brigade reconnaissance unit.
He was wearing a helmet, but apparently was looking up at the time and the rock hit him in the face, which was unprotected.
The Israeli news site N12 reported that at Ben-Yigal’s funeral in the town of Be’er Ya’akov, his father Baruch said, “You should have had to bury me, not I you. My father lies here 20 meters away — and you are named after him. I was orphaned at the age of 21, and you return your soul to the Creator at the age of 21.”
“Until this day at 6 a.m. I was a happy person, and at 6:30 I became a devastated man,” he continued. “The only child the Holy One blessed be he gave me… I am completely shattered.”
Ben-Yigal’s mother Nava wept at the side of his grave and cried out, “My son is a hero. My son is a hero.”
“I will be strong, protect us from above,” she said.
She added that she awoke at 5:30 a.m. with the traditional mourning phrase “baruch dayan emet” in her head.
Describing the moment she heard the news of her son’s death, she said she had asked, “‘What happened to Amit? Is everything ok?’ He said ‘no’ to me, and that’s it, my life has changed.”
The commander of Ben-Yigal’s unit addressed his parents, saying, “Be proud of Amit, a fierce and courageous fighter — a symbol and example for others.”
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett also spoke, noting that Baruch had signed a paper allowing Ben-Yigal to serve in combat even though he was an only child.
“How heroic of the father, how heroic of the son,” Bennett said.
Speaking of the hunt for Ben-Yigal’s killer, Bennett declared, “Golani soldiers, you will go back to fight and find the evil terrorist who did it and we will defeat our enemy together.”