ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES
Mother Sacrifices Her Sons
To Keep Her Nation Safe
is a motherís story. Her name is Miriam Peretz. She was
born in Morocco. In 1964, in the dark of night, she was spirited
out of the country and brought to Israel by the Jewish Agency.
She met Eliezer Peretz and
settled into a new happier life. Through the years they were
blessed with four sons and two daughters. Their sons became
officers in the Israel Defense Forces. Their daughters married
A dozen years ago they paid the
ultimate price for peace. Their firstborn, First Lt. Uriel
Peretz, of the Sayeret Golani, fell in battle in Lebanon
at the tender age of 22.
Last year, on the eve of Passover,
after this mother placed a full cup of wine on the seder table
for Eliyahu Hanavi, there came a knock on the door. It wasnít
the Prophet Eliyahu. It was three officers from the IDF.
"As soon as I saw them," she said, "I
shut the door and closed the blinds. I shuddered when they came
in. I didnít want to believe it. I begged them not to tell me.
Just let me have my son for one more minute."
The officers came told her that Maj.
Eliraz Peretz, 32, a Deputy Commander of Golani Battalion
Twelve, was killed fighting terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Later the father Eliezer, unable to
bear another loss, died of a broken heart.
So Miriam sacrificed for peace a
second time. As a result her next two sons were exempt from
combat service. But they wouldnít think of it.
"They saw it as a mitzvah," Miriam
said. "I signed the papers to permit them to become soldiers to
protect our homeland. My sons were always first in line. They
always did what needed to be done."
With tears clouding her vision Miriam
added, "Itís not fair for a mother to have to bury two of her
sons. These are not choices a mother should have to make ó which
grave to visit first, that of my firstborn where the earth is
old, or that of my younger son where the ground is still fresh.
"I pray to God to allow me to see my
grandchildren grow up. "
There wasnít a dry eye among the 1,450
guests at the 30th annual dinner for the Friends of
the IDF on March 22 in the Waldorf-Astoria as they listened to
the motherís story. One by one they rose to pledge a total of
$23.4 million for the spiritual and physical welfare of the
soldiers of Israel.
Among the dinner guests were
philanthropist Eugen Gluck; Malcolm Hoenlein,
executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major
American Organizations; Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founding
president of International Fellowship of Christians and Jews who
pledged $8.5 million; Joshua Matza, president and CEO of
Israel Bonds; Ambassador Ronald Lauder; Israeli
Ambassador to UN Meron Reuben; Pastor C. Hagee of
Christians United for Israel, and Elias Kalimian of the
Iranian-Jewish community in Great Neck, N.Y., who donated $1
Benny Shabtai, dinner chairman for
the 15th year, talked with Benjamin Netanyahu
on video. The Prime Minister said that while he hoped for the
best transformation of the Middle East from the current turmoil,
Lebanon hasnít turned into a democratic state, but a Hezbollah
state. "Thatís why we pursue peace but insist on security."
Serving as emcee, Monica Crowley,
a panelist on the McLaughlin Group and Fox News contributor,
interviewed a tank crew member, Omer Cohen, in Israel by
Cohen told how he spotted a missile
streaking toward his Merkava earlier this month. He immediately
engaged the tankís new Active Defense System and blasted the
incoming missile out of the sky. He saved the lives of the four
men in his tank.
"We deployed that new system for the
first time," Cohen said. "Itís an amazing system. It made my
Cohen said heís an American who came
to Israel at age 27 and was drafted. "Iím an old man among my
peers, who are all 18 or 19."
On stage Crowley interviewed Capt.
Neta Gery. She is the first female doctor accepted into the
infantry ó after carrying 55 pounds of equipment on a 28-mile
Dr. Gery said she saw an Arab approach
a checkpoint outside Ramallah. He was having a heart attack.
Asked why he didnít go to the hospital in Ramallah, the man said
he didnít have the money. He went to the checkpoint because he
knew the IDF doctor would take care of him. Dr. Gery saved his
The keynote speaker, Defense Minister
Ehud Barak, told about three brothers from a religious
family that came from Johannesburg.
The three sons became officers in the
army. Major Adam Weiler fought in the War of Attrition
and was killed in his tank along the Suez Canal. In the Yom
Kippur War the younger brother, Major Gideon Weiler,
rejected orders to stay far from the front and joined a tank
battalion in the north. He was killed as he was leading his
"I was shocked to hear
the news of Gideonís death because the third brother had
volunteered to the tank battalion that I was commanding. I was
forced to relieve him."
That third brother, Josef Weiler,
is now a scholar of international law. He was at the dinner with
"The spirit of the Weilers is the
fighting spirit of the IDF, Israel and the united Jewish
people," Barak said.