Video: Interview with retired Colonel Gideon Abbas/Eli Ashkenazi
Major Jamal Abbas, 23, from Peki'in, was a company commander in the 101st Battalion of the Paratroopers Brigade. He fell yesterday (Saturday) in battle in Sheikh Ajlin in the Gaza Strip and is being buried at this hour in the Nazai cemetery in Peki'in, with hundreds of his family, friends and many others accompanying him.
His grandfather, retired Colonel Gideon Abbas, said of him this morning: "44 days ago, we had my cousin's funeral here, and he hugged me and said he was going back to Gaza because there was a war. That was the last time I saw him. I sent him messages, sometimes he answered and sometimes he didn't and sent pictures. He was proud of the country, of the commanders. Jamal was one of the excellent officers - from the day he entered basic training until his death he always excelled. He was in the paratroopers and two years ago the brigade commander gave him an outstanding brigade commander and sent him to be an instructor in Bahad 1. Whoever is going to instruct in Bahad 1 needs to be among the best and educate a new generation. That's how Jamal was. He finished Bahad 1 and they asked him for Sayeret Matkal, so he went and instructed a class in Sayeret Matkal."
Major Jamal Abbas/IDF Spokesperson
Funeral procession of Maj. Jamal Abbas, Peki'in November 19, 2023/Eli Ashkenazi
Jamal's grandfather went on to talk about his and his family's connection to Israel: "I was born before the establishment of the state, I grew up with the state and I was beaten even before the establishment of the state by the legion that lived here in the region. I was suspected of passing on information. I felt the pain on my body back in '48. I had 3 children and educated them in the purity of the land. My first daughter was named Aya - Greater Israel. The second son was born when I was in the Straits of Tiran. My wife called him Tiran. All our children have Israeli names. I raised them since childhood on love of country. Already in my youth I was one of those who established the Druze Scouts. I was on kibbutzim and a kibbutz member. I believed and still believe in the shared destiny because we grew up in a community with Jews, Druze and Christians – brothers together. That's how I saw myself – part of a country that was established in its youth and I accompanied it to this day."
He went on to talk about the family's glorious history in the IDF: "I believed in the state and enlisted in the IDF, and I am among the first in the Druze community to reach the rank of division commander. I would take the children to exercises and sometimes they would come with me on chases. Even on the Lebanese border, sometimes they were with me in encounters with terrorists. I educated them in this way – that they would be fighters and officers. Thank God, God gave me that all my sons are officers. I am a colonel and my son is a colonel and the second son is a lieutenant colonel and the third son is a captain. I have grandchildren - one is a lieutenant colonel and Jamal who fell was a major. I educated Jamal that he shouldn't go to a combat unit. His brother Gideon, who was given my name, is also a commando. He was an officer with the rank of lieutenant. I always believed in their abilities and believed that they should serve the country like all the people. That's how I educated them – the children and the grandchildren who did national service."
Friends from Peki'in with a picture of Maj. Jamal Abbas, November 19, 2023/Eli Ashkenazi
Father Col. Anan Abbas (right) Brother Gideon (left) and grandfather Gideon, ahead of the funeral of Maj. Jamal Abbas, Peki'in November 19, 2023/Eli Ashkenazi
"We all love the country. It is part of us," Gideon continued, "There is an Israeli flag on my house. Since the day I lived at home, there has been a duty here like in a military unit. I believe in Zionism and I am one of those who founded the Druze Zionist movement with other members, and today there are hundreds of thousands who believe in this way."
Ahead of Maj. Jamal Abbas' funeral, Peki'in November 19, 2023/Eli Ashkenazi
Son Gideon hugs father Annan, grandfather Gideon (second from left of his grandson), ahead of the funeral of Maj. Jamal Abbas, Peki'in November 19, 2023/Eli Ashkenazi
On Saturday, the IDF published Capt. Jamal Abbas' last conversation with his father and brother. During the fighting, his family, his father Colonel (res.) Anan and his brother Capt. (res.) Gideon, who both serve in the Northern Command, managed to talk to him - for the last time.
In the conversation, the father is heard saying: "Code code from Dad and Gideon, we give you warm regards. Code code, you are the spearhead of warriors. Take care of yourselves, strike Hamas, destroy them. Fight boldly, wisely, and wisely and exact a price from the enemy. Stay as long as you need inside, until victory. Very much missed and loved. Come back safely. You are supported by Northern Command and your family. Take care of yourselves, come back safely, and see you."
Jamal replies: "Thank you very much. No problem, dear father... Congratulations on the rank."
Jamal's brother, Gideon, is heard saying: "Code Code, I wish you great success. I miss you, love you, waiting for you to come back, until victory bro..."
Jamal replies: "God willing, Gideon, you too are Brooke on the rank."
- More on the subject:
- Gaza War
- Iron Sword War