The Proud Mother of Two Fallen Sons

March 6, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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More than 1000 UIA supporters sat in stunned silence as Miriam Peretz told them that she had buried two sons who died fighting for the IDF…one in Lebanon and the other twelve years later in Gaza.

Miriam Peretz

The proud and super-strong Israeli mother had to sign a document overriding the IDF rules which do not allow the sibling of member of the IDF killed in action to be a member of a combat unit.

Her son Uriel was killed by Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1998. She told the UIA Major Donors function at Sydney’s The Central Synagogue that “five years ago, my husband Eleazer died of a broken heart.”

Uriel’s brother Eliraz was determined to join his later brother’s fighting unit in the Golani Brigade and told his mother it was “a mitzvah” to fight for Israel. On March 26, 2010, Eliraz, a major in the Golani Brigade lost his life fighting Hamas in Gaza.

Miriam Peretz told the hushed audience: “About two years ago, on the eve if Passover, three years ago three angels knocked on my door…but they did not bring with  them the prophet Elijah. They were bearers of terrible news. My second son Eliraz, 32 years old and a deputy commander of Golani Battallion 12 was killed fighting terrorists in the Gaza Strip. I slammed the door and pulled down the blinds so no-one could enter. When they finally came in, I begged them ‘don’t say a word, don’t deliver the news…just let me have my son for one more minute becassue for as long as you don’t say these final horrible words my Eliraz still lives'”. She told them it had to “be a mistake for I have already paid the “the ultimate price” for the survival of Israel.” She told them that her first born Uriel had been killed in Lebanon “at the tender age of 22”.

Peretz has mothered six children. Her four sons were all members of the Golani Brigade. Her two daughters are both married to Golani Brigade soldiers. She said in Israel they are known as “a Golani family”.

She said: “We were gathered for the Seder without Uriel, without Eleazer and now without Eliraz.” Peretz added: “We cried as we read from the Haggadah that “in every generation they rise up against us…in Uriel’s generation it was the Hezballah in Lebanon and in Eliraz’s it was Hamas in Gaza.” She said that it was not right fair for a mother to have to bury two of her sons. “They did not wish for war or relish combat, but when it was time to defend our people they were always first in line.”

Miriam Peretz was born in Morocco at a time when “we could only dare to whisper Eretz Yisroel”. Her family was relocated to Israel by the Jewish Agency. She told the audience: “I remember arriving in Haifa and my father kissing the ground. This scene echoed each time as I watched my sons’ coffins lowered into the ground at Mt Herzl except now I was the one who knelt down and kissed the soil of Eretz Yisroel as it covered their bodies.”

Frank Lowy

She said she would tell her remaining children and grandchildren including those yet to be born about their noble father and their wonderful uncles and about all the brave heroic fighters who defend our nation.” She concluded by saying that her spirit could not be broken and that “you cannot break the spirit of Am Yisroel. No matter how hard the the road ahead our people do not fear the journey. In the name of my fallen sons, I pledge to you that Am Yisroel Chai…people of Israel will live on.”

A visibly moved Frank Lowy, a Life Governor of the United Israel Appeal told the function that he too had fought with the Golani Brigade in the same unit as Miriam Peretz’s sons. Lowy took part in the 1948 War of Independence.  He had a message for those who are anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. “Am Yisroel

Chai! Why? In spite of them, we will live forever.” Miriam told us of her sacrifice and the sacrifice for the safety of the State of Israel. She has told us what Jewish sacrifice is all about. They lay their lives on the line.” Lowy said: “We must recognise our responsibilities and pay our dues.” He said that Jews in the Diaspora benefit from the people of Israel.

Keynote speaker Dennis Prager, an Los Angeles-based radio host spoke about the rising anti-Semitism throughout the world.

Other speakers included Bruce Fink, president of UIA NSW, Lance Rosenberg, chairman of UIA NSW and Yohanna Arbib-Perugia, the Rome based chairperson of the Keren-Hayesod World Board of Trustees.

Bruce Fink

In his address Fink said that the UIA had been “making a difference in the Jewish world since 1920” adding that in the past year UIA NSW had raised $16 million making it the “highest per capita campaign in the Keren Hayesod world”. He said that education was at the forefront of the 2012 campaign announcing the UIA NSW schools project in which the organisation will “adopt a number of Israeli schools in disadvantaged areas, twinning the schools with local Sydney Jewish schools.”

Yohanna Arbib-Perugia

Arbib-Perugia said that world anti-Semitism was “taking on a new guise – the delegitimisation of Israel”. She said that many Jews have been “slow to recognise that Israel is the centre of Jewish life”.

Dennis Prager broadcasts daily on over 100 radio stations across the United States and is considered to be one of the most influential advocates for Israel in the U.S.

Dennis Prager

He asked the audience: “Have you ever wonder why the World is preoccupied with Jews?  It doesn’t make any sense.”  He said he had come to an answer that “a lot of Jews are very loathe to accept”. On rational grounds, I dot see any other explanation for Jewish history than transcendent source for what goes on in Jewish life. There is no secular explanation for Jewish history.”

He said that today “we try to use the Holocaust to keep young Jews Jewish – it doesn’t work!” adding “the Holocaust is not a reason to stay Jewish.”

Turning to anti-Semites Prager said “it is a very foolish non-Jew who says ‘Jew haters and anti-Semites are the Jews’ problem.” He added: “Had the world understood that anti-Semitism is everybody;s problem, not because they’re nice but because they are self-interested in survival, 50 million people killed by Hitler in World War II would have been alive. 50 million non-Jews who died during WWII”.

He said Jews need to convey the message to the wider world that anti-Semitism is everybody’s issue adding that the “violent Islamists” hate the Jews most in today’s world adding that it is “dismissed as a Jews’ problem.”

He said 100,00 Muslims were murdered in Algeria in the 1990s and in the last ten years five million Congolese have been killed but barely made the media. But he said “If one Palestinian is wounded it makes the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald, The New York Times, Le Monde and so on”. He said if Muslims kill Muslims or black kill blacks it barely makes the Western Press. He said that so many say today that “it is Israel’s fault there is no peace in the Middle East”. He asked the audience if they could name one example in world history of a conflict between a liberal democracy and a police state  where it was the liberal democracy that was responsible for no peace. It has never happened with one exception – the Jewish State. So many believe it’s the democracy that wants war and not peace.”

Lance Rosenberg

Prager stated that all wars have been between two non-democracies or a democracy and a non-democracy stating that there has never been a war between two free states. Prager expressed his disappointment that the ranks of those who had turned history upside down included Jews both in the Diaspora and Israel itself explaining that after all they had been through the Jews “are a wounded people and don’t think clearly all the time”.

He concluded by saying that Jews help each other and said that many Israelis are shocked by the volume of help they get from the Disaspora.

Lance Rosenberg said that Australian Jews need to “reinforce the link between Israel and the Diaspora”. He said the UIA message is “a strong Israel for a strong Jewish future”.

Israeli entertainer David Broza closed the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

One Response to “The Proud Mother of Two Fallen Sons”
  1. God bless Miriam forever. What a brave soul – I wept for her loss. Be’ahavat Yisrael……………
    Freedom speaks only with a Hebrew accent.

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