PM Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu with IDF orphans in Jerusalem, Apr. 12, 2021. (Koby Gideon/GPO)

“Your fathers live within you,” the prime minister said. “I am certain that your fathers see you, are proud and are watching over you,” added Sara Netanyahu.

Just ahead of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara met with IDF orphans from the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization on Monday at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.

The prime minister shared his personal bereavement over the loss of his brother Yoni Netanyahu, who headed the elite commando unit Sayeret Matkal during Operation Entebbe – later renamed Operation Yonatan – and was killed in action. The mission rescued Jewish and Israeli hostages held by terrorists at Entebbe Airport in Uganda in 1976.

“When this happens to someone, I call it the ripping out of an organ. It is like they have cut your hand or foot off, or taken out an organ. Therefore, the big question is: How does one live after this?” the prime minister told the orphans.

He then quoted a poem written by the late Hayim Nahman Bialik, a pioneer of modern Israeli poetry, titled “After My Death.” The poem begins, “There was a man, and look, he is no more.”

But “my answer to this is no, he is here in the heart,” Netanyahu said.

“Beyond all the things that we are doing outside, the true commemoration is in your hearts: What you know, what you have locked up, what you have gathered and received from the family or from your memory is the existence that exists with you forever in the heart.

“I tell you, it will live in your heart until your last day and not leave. It does not need to leave; on the contrary, your fathers live within you. From what you knew or from what you learned afterward from your mothers, aunts and uncles, and the family. Your fathers live within you…

“My brother Yoni lives within me every day. I talk to him about many things. This is the strongest commemoration that can be, and it gives you strength. Your fathers live within each one of you.”

Sara Netanyahu added that the “most important thing” is to continue to live, to move on. “I am certain that your fathers see you, are proud and are watching over you. They are happy when you are happy,” she said.

Attending the meeting were Shilo Butbul, 17, son of the late Sgt. Mordechai Butbul; Neriah Moreno, 17, son of the late Col. Emmanuel Moreno; Asul Nasr E-Din, 16, daughter of the late Sgt. Lutfy Nasr E-Din; Rotem Sharir, 26, daughter of the late Lt. Col. Yuval Sharir; Lehi Greenberg, 22, daughter of the late Col. Amotz Greenberg, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge; Yosiel Kahlon, 23, son of Warrant Officer Rami Kahlon, who was killed in Operation Protective Edge; Stav Harriri, 26, son of the late Col. Dov Harriri; Noam Almaliah, 23, son of the late Sgt. Moshe Almaliah, who was killed in fighting along the Philadelphi route; and Yasam Shibl, 27, son of the late Sgt. Ibrahim Shibl.

The meeting was held in cooperation with the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization and with the participation of its chairwoman, Tami Shelach, executive director Yuval Lipkin (and Shlomi Nachumson, director of youth programs.