The faces of grief

November 20, 2014 Agencies
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Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin spoke at the funeral of Sergeant-Major Zida Saif who lost his life fighting the terrorists responsible for the Har Nof synagogue massacre.

President Rivlin said:



President Rivlin comforts the family Photo: Mark Neyman/GPO

“Dear family Saif, I stand before you, shaken and in grief.  Yesterday morning, terror once again stuck in Jerusalem.  Terror which does not distinguish between people, or between blood. Terrorists turned a house of prayer, a house of learning, in to a house of massacre.

Your beloved Zidan, on patrol in Jerusalem – one of the best sons of this country – heard of the incident, and did not hesitate nor waver. He was one of the first to face the fire, to face the flames of hatred.  One of the first there to protect the people of Jerusalem.  Zidan, your most loved, fearlessly stood up to the terrorists. With his own body he blocked the path of the murderous attackers, and laid down his own life to protect those at prayer.  In the fight, he was mortally wounded.  And despite our hopes and prayers, he died in the night.

Zidan acted according to the values on which he was brought up.  Courage, heroism, giving of himself, friendship, sacrifice, and giving one’s life for good.

Zidan Saif fell while guarding Jerusalem.  In our country, the boys of Jerusalem guard over Yanuh-Jat, and the boys of Yanuh-Jat guard over Jerusalem. ‘Over thy walls Jerusalem, I have placed guardians’, and they come from Beit-Jan, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and Yanuh-Jat, from across the land.

President Rivlin by the coffin of Sergeant-Major

President Rivlin by the coffin of Sergeant-Major Zidan Saif       Photo: Mark Neyman/GPO

During these difficult and sorrowful days, when terror has once again raised its ugly head, Zidan, and fellow, fighters, in the security forces, members of the Druze community, are as the biblical Nachshon, the first to stand up before the camp.  Your children, boldly and bravely stand on the front-line of the war against terror, time and time again.  In courage and faith, and with an unparalleled commitment to the State of Israel and those who live in it.

Together, we all want to fend off the hatred, and extinguish the flames of hatred that seek to harm and destroy innocent life.  Just one bullet took the life of Zidan, a murderer’s bullet.  This bullet cannot however break our faith in the justness of our joint course.  It cannot break our faith in the human spirit, nor can it destroy our hope to continue to live here together.

The State of Israel will not tolerate terrorism.  We will not allow terror to win.  Our security forces know how to deal forcefully with murderers, with their dispatchers, and with their helpers.

To Zidan’s mother and father, and to his wife, and baby child, there can be no comforting your pain.  There can be no comfort for the murder of a father, husband, son or brother.  What can we say to comfort a young baby, who will not know her father?  What can we say to her, at just five months old?  What will we tell her when she learns to walk, when she learns to call out ‘daddy’ and nobody answers?  We will tell her that daddy heroically defended Jerusalem.  We will tell her that daddy gave up his life to save the lives of others.  Your daddy was a hero, whose death meant that many others lived.  The members of that synagogue, that house of prayer, stand here today, share in your love for Zidan, who saved the lives of their community, and have come to pay their last respects.

Dear and beloved Saif family, I share in your pain.  May Zidan’s memory be etched upon our hearts, and may his soul be bound in the bond of life.


One Response to “The faces of grief”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    My heart bleeds for the family of Zidan Saif. Everything that could be said is reflected in the face of the older woman on far left of first photo, white scarf on her head. Perhaps Zidan Saif’s mother, grandmother … I don’t know. What an unspeakable act perpetrated by these Arabs, bringing in its wake indefinite anguish and grief for the death of this family’s loved one, cutting short the life of a young man with so much to give …

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