On Thursday of last week, I met up with two young men.
The first was our nephew Sam. Sam is aged 20. He made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in December last year on a lone soldier program. His home is in Kibbutz Ginegar and he is in a unit of the Israel Defence Forces called COGAT.
I have known Sam since he was born. I have witnessed his growth and I hope to see him continue his life for many years to come. He has my ultimate respect for his life decision together with the respect of all our family.
The second young man I met up with today was Shachar Dauber. His nickname was Shusky and he was born on Kibbutz Ginegar. That was also his home. I had never met Shusky before and yet in the space of an hour I got to know him. I heard all about his life as a child, as a teenager, as a young man just turned 20 and as a paratrooper in the IDF. His commanding officer spoke to me of Shusky’s bravery; his beautiful young girlfriend spoke to me of their plans for the future; his uncle spoke to me of his “small nephew” who he adored; his friends spoke to me of his abilities; and his older brother spoke to me of their love for each other.
His parents could not speak. Indeed his mother could not stand. Not because she had a disability but because the pain in her body today was so overwhelming.
Indeed the pain in the body of all of us today was overwhelming, because for all of us today, Shusky was our son or brother. And when one buries a son or brother the pain cannot be numbed and the tears cannot be stemmed
Today we all met up with Shusky at his funeral. The funeral of a twenty year old young man who was killed in the defence of his country. I owe Shusky a debt of gratitude for his sacrifice so that I and the thousands there and the other citizens of Israel may live in our country secure and in freedom.
Shusky, it was my honour to meet you, a hero of Israel. My greatest regret is that I never met you before and that I will never meet you again.
Rest in peace young man, rest in peace.