Through a list-serve I receive I got the following note from an attendeed of Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser’s (z”l) funeral. I found the words so moving that I wanted to share it with you even though the post is a bit dated. (By the way, the person from whom I shared it said “please share.”)
From: Lisa Preiss
Sent: Friday, July 18th, 8:35 am
Subject: Goldwasser funeral
Yesterday I drove up the western coast of Israel to Nahariyah, just below the Lebanese border, in order to attend the somber funeral of Ehud Goldwasser. Just 24 hours earlier his fate was revealed to his family, all Israel and the world in front of television cameras: in a travesty of a spectacle a Hezbollah spokesman, acting like an amateur magician, pointed the cameras to a darkened car declaring in Arabic “and now we will learn the fate of the two soldiers!” His people fumbled about as they removed two black coffins from the car, proving to all of us at that very moment that Ehud and Eldad were not alive. A cry went out in homes around the country as we thought of the Goldwassers and Regevs getting this final heartbreaking news in such an inhumane manner.
The sight of the parents, Micki and Shlomo Goldwasser, their two boys and the majestic widow, Karnit, following Ehud’s coffin, arm in arm, as they walked towards the cemetery on the beach will be etched in my mind forever. The irony of the burial spot was lost on no one: 29 years ago on this same beach, Samir Kuntar killed 4 Israelis, including 4 year-old Einat Haran after she witnessed her father being shot. Her mother, Smadar, was with us at Ehud’s funeral. She has been a stalwart supporter of the families of the kidnapped soldiers, determined that her pain should not keep them from being reunited with their loved ones. Samir Kuntar was one of the five live prisoners exchanged for Ehud and Eldad.
Thousands stood together overlooking the sea as Ehud was buried to words of love and longing. I have met the Goldwassers on numerous occasions over the past two years, accompanying Angelinos on our Federation’s missions who wanted to meet and support the families in their struggle. They are strong and upstanding people. The LA Federation, along with other federations, financially supported the families of the kidnapped soldiers over the past two years so that they could travel wherever they needed and bring attention to their plight. We produced dog-tags of the soldiers as part of the LA-wide campaign we led. When a group of our Geller Fellows presented Karnit Goldwasser with a sample of the tags, she replied without missing a beat, “I will give these to Ehud when I see him.”
In another such meeting I learned from Micki that when Ehud was born she stopped working in order to take him daily to this same beach until he began nursery school at the age of three. Despite the stifling heat, the crowd remained quiet and respectful throughout the funeral.
In Beirut an entirely different event was unfolding: now a pawn of the Hezbollah and stuffed into one of their uniforms, Samir Kuntar broke through cardboard jail bars in front of tens of thousands of cheering Lebanese. It seemed that the remains of 199 Lebanese returned that morning were given little thought or limelight.
Much was made of the difference in the character of the events occurring in Israel and Lebanon yesterday. I remember what Shlomo Goldwasser said on his way to be reunited with his son’s remains just the day before: that he felt sad for the Lebanese who were celebrating the return of a child-murderer.
Yesterday I was proud to belong to the nation that was mourning its dead, its sons returned to its borders the nation which lives by the words of Psalm 34: “Mi ha’ish hahefetz chaim, Bakesh shalom v’rodfehu”
I was proud to belong to the nation that holds life most precious, along with the quest for peace.
LA Jewish Federation Israel Office Jerusalem