Saturday, March 3, 2007

In Memory of Nir Cohen

With the immediate hostilities in Lebanon over we return to our routines, but life can never really be the same. We have buried some of our best and brightest. We wonder, with tears in our eyes and pain in our hearts, when will this madness end.
A few weeks ago my wife and I learnt of the death of the son of my wife’s closest friend. My wife and Navah Cohen served in the Nachal together in their youth and ever since remained close friends. Her son, Nir (z”l) was a reserve soldier, only 23 years old, with love in his heart and a song to sing, and a bright future volunteered for service in Lebanon. Nir Cohen didn’t have to rejoin his tank unit. He had a previous military injury that exempted him from combat duty. Nevertheless, educated the way he was, he understood the need to defend his country and rejoined his unit. What a brave man! What incredible core values! He understood the concept of Messirat Hanefesh. There is so much that all of us can learn from his life. He fell in Lebanon on August 11, 2006. May his memory be an inspiration to all of us.
Another soldier Major Roi Klein fell in battle in Lebanon. There was a piece in the Israeli papers on him and I thought it appropriate to bring it to your attention:” On Major Roi Klein (z”l - of blessed memory)
The little that we can do for somebody who sacrificed his life in such a heroic way is to tell his story. It is not clear why the media ignored this story. Maybe his altruistic behaviour is unpopular or maybe it does not fit with the image of the suffering, sensitive and fearful soldier that some Israeli media are trying to nurture.
Last week, Major Roi Klein (z”l), lieutenant commander of Regiment 51 in the Golani Brigade, from Eli was the highest-ranking officer among his troops at the time in the Lebanese town of Bint AlJubeil. In the midst of a battle he noticed that Hizballah terrorists have lobbed a grenade that landed close to his soldiers. Since the detonation of the grenade was imminent. He leaped and blocked most of the fragmentation from the grenade with his body, thereby saving his troops. His soldiers said that he cried “Shma Israel” when he jumped to block the grenade.
Roi Klein was buried on the day of his 31st birthday.
He was a gifted Saxophone player and a brilliant academic that completed his engineering studies with high honours. He traveled with friends in Africa and had a rolling laughter. All of his friends describe him as a gentle and relaxed sole. His widow’s wish is that his children would resemble their father when they grow up.
May his memory be blessed.
Instead of lighting a memorial candle please forward his story onwards. He deserves much more. But that is the little that we can do. ”