Thursday, April 23, 2015
Netanyahu: The Knock On The Door After My Brother Was Killed Was The Worst Moment Of My Life
Jerusalem - The ring of the telephone and the call that followed to inform him of his brother Yonatan’s death in July 1976, 39 years ago, remains the worst moment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s life.
He shared that continuously resonating pain with the Israeli public when he spoke Wednesday morning at a ceremony at the Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery to mark the 23,320 soldiers and civilians who have been killed since the country was created in 1948.
In this way, Netanyahu said, he is no different than the thousands of families whose lives were torn apart and changed forever when they heard a “knock” on the door that informed them that someone they loved had been killed.
Netanyahu said his own metaphorical “knock on the door” occurred when his brother Ido called him from Israel while he was studying in the United States.
Through Ido, he learned that Yonatan, 30, had been killed leading the Entebbe raid in which 102 hostages were freed.
“It was the worst moment of my life, save for one seven hours later, after an anguished overnight trip I walked up the path to my father and mother’s house,” he said.
At the time, his father Benzion was a professor of Jewish history at Cornell University in Ithaca New York.
“I was fated to be the messenger, the one who knocked on my parents door,” Netanyahu said.
Before he reached the door, Netanyahu recalled, he could see his father through the living room’s picture window.
In his characteristic way, Benzion was walking back and forth with his hands clasped behind his back, lost in thought Netanyahu recalled.
Something broke Benzion’s concentration. He looked up and saw Netanyahu through the window walking up the path to their door.
“His face immediately changed and he let out a bitter cry,” Netanyahu said.
He entered the house with a knot in his stomach.
“I will never forget how my mother bitterly cried and screamed,” he recalled.
“To receive the ‘knock on the door’ about my brother and then to be the one who knocked on my parents door, made it seem as if Yoni had died twice,” Netanyahu recalled.
Those who have been through this kind of hell knows that nothing else can “shakes you to your core” with the same force, Netanyahu said.
The wound caused by that kind of shock, pain and suffering never really heals, Netanyahu said.
Earlier in the week, he recalled, he met with the orphaned children of those who gave their life for their country, Netanyahu said.
“I saw grief in their faces and a quiet sadness within them,” he said.
Netanyahu uttered a prayer in his heart, that in the years to come they would be healed by the power of life and the love of the nation.