Netanel Yahalomi was killed at the age of 20 on Friday (September 21, 2012) by terrorists from Egypt.
I am writing this because it’s too easy to look at his picture, share it on Facebook and then continue scrolling down my newsfeed, checking to see what else is going on.
And then I stop myself. And this takes some self control. We Israelis become somewhat desensitized to these kinds of “events.” Sadly, when I stop myself, I realize that one of the reasons I’m ready to just move on is that I am relieved by the fact that it was “only” one Israeli soldier who was killed.
I am so embarrassed to admit this in writing. When the thought is only in my head, I can justify it. But when I write it down, even not publicly, I am appalled by my thought process. It even makes me a little physically ill to think about it.
As Jews we are supposed to see each person as a whole world. And I truly believe that it’s good to see people that way. It keeps you sensitized, sensitive and it could help you focus on the right things at the right time.
And right now the focus is not on checking what other interesting things people are posting nor working on a photo album from my vacation a few months ago. (Again, embarrassment and nausea.)
It is to give Netanel the “moment of silence” that he deserves.
On Friday he became the one picture that we are all seeing online. That is what happens when someone is killed. There is one picture the media somehow acquires and it’s the one pose we learn about this person.
So now, when we think of Netanel – and there are people out there who remember all the Israelis who have been killed over the years – we will think of this picture.
But lets try to keep in mind that this man, a young man but nonetheless a man, may have lived an extremely short life but he is a whole world to those who love him. But on Friday, those who love him, allowed him to be the security fence between those who hate us and us, the citizens of Israel.
The picture above is actually cropped. Next to him is his mother. This brought home for me that he will never have the chance to get married. His mother is probably thinking about this among an infinite number of other heart-breaking things, as she attempts to wrap her head around that which is currently impossible for her to understand.
I look at the one picture we have of Netanel. I look at the time: around 12:30am Sunday morning. His funeral is in around 30 minutes. I have nothing to say to make anyone feel better but the least I can do is have them in mind, show gratitude to the family and to Netanel and hope that he is the last Israeli soldier we lose this year.