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Daniel – a true hero

When a terrorist army fueled by hate rampaged into Israel in a killing spree, the best of our Gen Z stepped up in defense, even when it meant giving their all
Family picture provided of Daniel Perez

This war that Hamas started has caused terrible pain and loss to countless people and no more so than for a beautiful family that I have the merit of living alongside in Yad Binyamin. Yesterday, a day we hoped would not come, their son, brother, grandchild, nephew, cousin, friend Captain Daniel Perez, may his soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life, was confirmed as having been killed on October 7th.

He died “Al Kiddush Hashem”/ “sanctifying God’s name.” He made the ultimate sacrifice for his people and his country. He was killed while actively defending his country against a barbaric enemy committed to nothing other than hatred and death.

His death is nothing other than a tragedy for his wonderful family, friends, and other loved ones.

For the broader world, it is perhaps a reminder of the true double-sided nature of October 7th and will serve as a reminder about who and what we are fighting for.

On the 7th of October, we saw terrible tragedy on levels not seen since the Holocaust – people brutally murdered, kidnapped, raped – by an army of terrorists fueled by sheer hatred and a desire to kill as many Jews and other innocent civilians as possible.

On the 7th of October, we also saw a group of true heroes who gave everything they had, quite literally, to save as many lives as possible and to contain what by all estimates could have been a far worse situation. Daniel was in this group and by all accounts gave every ounce of his precious life to defending our precious country. Our younger generation that we once labeled “Gen Z” has stepped up miraculously as heroes and Daniel was at the heart of this.

These last few months, sadly, I have written about Daniel many times, first as an unnamed hostage until the IDF cleared his name for publication, then on this blog as Daniel Perez, the son of wonderful neighbors/friends and now as Captain Daniel Perez killed on the 7th of October, a hero in the face of brutal onslaught by the most terrible of terrorists. I truly hoped and prayed this day would never come!

At times like this, I tend to rely on the words of the late chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. He stated it poignantly when he said in reference to Israel Memorial Day: “Jews fought, and never more so than in the State of Israel, with the courage that you find only in those whose ultimate aim is not victory but peace, not triumph but life. Let us acknowledge the heroes of Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel), the heroes not just of military battle, but also the heroes of the human spirit, who are willing to die so that we can live. They lit a flame in the Jewish heart that will never die. Let us remember them and their past, and look today at the Israel they have built. A land of freedom and energy and creativity and life.”

We are not interested in death or killing or revenge over our neighbors – we don’t hate and we want peace but as the name “Israel Defense Forces” states so literally, we are going to defend ourselves with our lives if needed to protect and preserve this special land and people.

He was a hero in whose merit our society continues to exist and act as a beacon of hope in this world. Our soldiers are doing the work of heroes, operating at the highest ethical standards and bravery against terrorists who hate so much they are sacrificing their own to feed their thirst.

Our enemies should know that far from being a weakness, our love of life, freedom and hope is a true strength. Daniel and many other precious souls made and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice and it is, I believe, incumbent on us to honor this and each find his or her own way to make their contribution to this truly special cause. Daniel, you and your family have inspired me to step up, even if just by writing, and I know you have inspired others.

We must not let terror win physically or morally and we must get our other captives back now.

Captain Daniel Perez — a true hero!

About the Author
I live in Yad Binyamin having made Aliyah 17 years ago from London. I have an amazing wife and kids including a son in Special Forces and two daughters, one soon to start uni and one in high school. A partner of a global consulting firm and a Parkinson's patient and advocate.
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