Two bereaved fathers whose sons fell in the war issued a call to increase the sense of unity among the citizens of Israel, and ask to stop inciting and hateful publications.
The funeral of Moshe Leiter: "You were the diamond of the IDF" (archive) \\ Yoni Rikner
The initiators of the public letter are Brig. Gen. (res.) Dadi Simhi and Yehiel Leiter. Simhi's son - Guy z"l, a soldier in a paratrooper reconnaissance, was killed in an encounter with terrorists in Kibbutz Reim. Leiter's son, Moshe, z"l, fell fighting in Beit Hanoun.
"These are fateful days for the Jewish people and the State of Israel, days when our state and Israeli society will be shaped for the future," the bereaved fathers write. "At this time, IDF soldiers and all security forces are fighting a despicable and barbaric enemy that murdered, raped, abused and burned one thousand three hundred of our citizens, babies, children, women and the elderly. The murderers of Hamas and their collaborators kidnapped two hundred and forty civilians from their homes, among them toddlers; the horrific massacre on Black Saturday on October 7 is living testimony to our existential need for unity, security and determination.
Staff Sgt. Guy Simhi z"l, photo: None
"At a time when we continue to bury our dead, but boldly and heroically beat our despicable enemies, at a time when we are stepping up efforts to return the rest of our kidnappers, we are obliged to put our differences aside and act as one people, united and determined for a clear and decisive victory in the war, which includes the return of all the abductees."
Leiter and Simhi do not ignore the feelings of anger and rage that exist among the public, "but at this stage we must channel them to create unity and cohesion, of a people that came to its senses after the murderous blow it received and is currently fighting for its fate and future."
'Intensifying efforts to return the rest of our abductees', rally for the abductees, Photo: Getty Images
The bereaved fathers emphasize that whoever is responsible for the massacre on October 7 will remain responsible when the fighting ends: "We will insist that all those who bear responsibility for the massacre and the terrible omission, from all branches of government, including the government, the Knesset and the security forces, do what is required and expected of them personally, without hesitation and without bias, and will take full personal responsibility, with all its implications, at the first moment when the circumstances of the fighting will allow it.
"The people of Israel are a strong people, carrying with it a glorious history of three thousand five hundred years, in which they tried to destroy it many times. We, who rose from the ashes of the victims of the Holocaust, established a state for the Jewish people and stood in all of Israel's battles, will stand together and win this battle as well."
"Do not hesitate for a moment and topple Hamas", the activity of the forces in the Gaza Strip, photo: IDF Spokesperson
Leiter and Simhi ask Israelis from across the political spectrum: "Stop the renewal of the moves, the publications, the discourse on the networks, which are once again plunging us into division, hatred and incitement within us.
"From here, we call on the government of Israel to continue the supreme efforts to return the hostages, not to hesitate for a moment and topple Hamas and destroy the barbaric murderers, to place all the resources required for the needs of the fighters at the top of the list of priorities, together with the rehabilitation efforts in the envelope."
"Our fallen and murdered sons and daughters are the painful wake-up cry for the need for unity between us, a cry that connects us with sadness, bereavement, blood and heroism. We are all now commanded to work together to lead Israel to revival and renewal, out of the personal, family and national crisis we have undergone. Together we can challenge every challenge, together we can any enemy."
Simhi and Leiter write at the end of their letter: "We salute the heroism of the residents of the envelope, Sderot, Ofakim, and the other conflict zones in the north and south. We all send condolences to the bereaved families, support and a loving embrace to the abductees, the wounded and their families. We strengthen the IDF and the security forces and trust them to carry out their national mission and defeat the despicable enemy."
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