– January 20, 2001
as it seems, four years have almost passed since that phone
call in the middle of the night - the call I can never forget.
One in the morning, I hear your voice telling me that they
had come to tell you that Yonatan had died in South Lebanon.
You asked me to call our mother, saying you couldn't face
telling her. We mumbled a few more words, you asked me if
I wanted you to wait with the funeral - to give me time to
come over. But I could tell you did not want to wait and I
can't remember whether we said good-bye or not, but I remember
my body turn to ice and I could not stop shaking. The call
to Mary was the second worst in my life. I knew I was bringing
her the news that would hurt her more than any other - the
grandchild in whose eyes the sun rose and set was no longer.
Omer, and Ellie (Summer, 1992)
As time went
by we began to learn the details of his death. We heard how
the bomb had gone off and he had lain there directing the
medic to his soldiers, how the army had taken a long time
to fly in the evacuation helicopter, wanting to make sure
there were no further ambushes. We heard that he had all the
time joked or talked with his men, making sure they took precautions,
trying to keep their spirits up, complaining only that he
could not feel his legs. Nothing we heard surprised us. It
seemed pure Yonatan. It was simultaneously horrifying and
totally believable. Of course Yonatan worried about his soldiers
before himself. Of course he still operated on a feeling of
total responsibility for the "Zirkelonim."
What else would Yonatan do? It was natural that when the doctor
arrived on the rescue helicopter he dealt with the other wounded
before turning to Yonatan, fooled by Yonatan's complete commitment
to his charges.
you from the distance, read or listened to second-hand reports.
I remember walking into a supermarket here and seeing your
face plastered across the front of one of the Israeli newspapers
on sale. I felt that same chill again as I looked into the
terrible, naked grief of a mother who had lost... no, not
a son, but who had lost Yonatan. I had seen too many of those
pictures before and they had always moved me but this was
a face I knew too well, this was a part of me and who I am
and I had to sit out in the car for a while before I could
of the stages of grief but that suggests an end, or at least
a coming to terms. I'm no longer sure that is always possible.
I have watched you struggle through the years and you have
displayed a bravery that has truly inspired me. It has not
been the bravery of carrying on as if nothing had happened
but the bravery of dealing openly with your loss, your grief,
and your very justified anger.
this Web site is tremendously rewarding. I feel closer to
Yonatan than I have at any time since his death. It has been
cathartic, feeling both the sadness over and over as I work
on a page or picture, and the truly wonderful emotions that
Yonatan continues to inspire. I witness the gratitude of the
people who appreciate a chance to share Yonatan. I watch as
Yonatan provides something to those who visit his site. He
continues to be such an example to so many. There is no denying
the pain of facing the life so suddenly arrested. There is
a Yonatan that I continually struggle to make out, the Yonatan
of today, who would be soon turning 26. I can't quite see
him and that is immensely sad. However, it has been a rare
privilege and a wonderful feeling to have Yonatan at my shoulder,
watching as I put the pages together. Every now and then we
share a wry smile over something someone says but I think
he is, justifiably, very proud of himself.