The only comfort for the 13 families who lost their sons al Kiddush Hashem late Motzoei Shabbos/early Sunday is that they fell in a just war, a war of no choice.
“My son was killed in a just war. My son was killed in a war to protect the homefront,” said Gil Barsano, whose son Adar, Hy”d, was killed on Shabbos in a clash with terrorists who climbed out of a tunnel on the Israeli side of the border.
“From my mourning, I want to strengthen the IDF fighters. As a bereaved father, I tell you, ‘Fight.’ I want to strengthen the hands of the prime minister to continue with his decisions in this war, which is so just.”
In hindsight, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was right to wait before opening Operation Protective Edge, giving every possible chance for Hamas to agree to a ceasefire. He was right to agree to a ceasefire last week, showing the world, but more importantly, Israel itself, that there was no choice but to send troops into Gaza, with all the risk that entails.
By waiting, he allowed an important message to sink in: Hamas — with its missiles and tunnels — threatens every Jew in Israel. And therefore even when there is an unbearably painful night like Motzoei Shabbos, when 13 Golani soldiers and commanders lost their lives in Gaza, the war must continue. There is no choice.
But that doesn’t mean that everyone in Israel isn’t grieving along with those 13 families. The sadness, the sense of national mourning was palpable.
And it wasn’t just the fallen. Emails circulated yesterday listing dozens of names of wounded boys to daven for, for a refuah sheleimah. Yonasan Shimon ben Gittel. Yoni ben Sara. Aviad ben Sima. Erez ben Sarit. And on and on.
Since Operation Protective Edge began nearly two weeks ago, there hasn’t been a tefillah anywhere in the country that hasn’t ended with Tehillim.
This painful war, which sends young men into Gaza to confront evil on behalf of Am Yisrael, has without doubt suppressed sinas chinam and heightened the sense of unity.
May the families be comforted among the mourners of Zion, may this war end soon with no further fatalities, may the wounded be completely healed and may our renewed appreciation of just how precious our fellow Jews are to us be a merit that brings the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash in time for this Tishah B’Av to become a Yom Tov.