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Jan 8

Written by: Diana West
Thursday, January 08, 2009 11:38 AM 

Photo: IDF Capt. Yehonatan Netanel, who was killed during operations in the Gaza Strip.

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Yehezkel Laing describes what happened after he heard a neighbor's name read in a radio report on Israel's war dead:

I pray it's just a coincidence, but to be safe I drive by the street where they live. If it is him, they would have notices on the street. And as I slowly drive by I look at the houses as they pass, but I see nothing - no notices here, nor here, nor here, and I am already at the end of the street. And then I see it, all over the Jerusalem stone wall, mourning announcements, and the unthinkable has happened - Yonatan is gone.

THE FAMILY is gathered at the next door neighbor's house, standing around their plasma screen rewinding the video to find the story about Yonatan on the news. I expect to find everyone in tears, but while the atmosphere is subdued, no one is crying. Instead, they seem to exude a different feeling entirely - strength. A family like this cannot be understood in conventional terms. A family where faith is not a belief, but the very reality in which they live, guiding their every movement.

The eyes of Yonatan's mother, Malchi, are bloodshot, but she too is not crying. And his young wife, holding their infant baby, turns and looks at me. I can't say anything, so I just look away. Yonatan studied at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva High School, the same school targeted by terrorists a year ago - when eight young boys were murdered. Since the terrorists have discovered the place from which the Jewish people derive their strength, they seek to destroy it, not realizing that our true strength lies in the unbeatable souls of those who learn there.

The rest of the essay is  here.

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