Wapa Aasad from the Druze village of Ussefiya died on September 12th, 1993 while on reserve duty in the Gaza Strip. A patrol jeep under his command was attacked by gun-wielding terrorist; Aasad returned fire and charged, but to no avail. He was killed together with two of his soldiers – also Druze.
"It is hard without him," his wife Hanadi told Ynet on Sunday. "Memorial Day is a hard day for all of the bereaved families, we remember him every second."
Aasad is one of 585 non-Jewish soldiers killed in the line of duty protecting Israel – 397 of which are Druze. The overall number of people killed as part of military service since 1860 stands at 23,169.
Aasad fell two years after he and Hanadi met; in addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters – the youngest, his namesake, born only a month and a half after he died. Now, she is engaged.
Einav, 22, his eldest, said that "this is an emotionally charged day. Suddenly everything overcomes you: Why isn't my dad here today? Why isn't he with me? I know he was a hero, strong and impressive, who loved to live and loved people, a man with a good heart. I miss him, his absence is always felt.
Hanadi (L) and daughter Einav and Wafa (R)
"At first I would ask 'how come everyone at school has fathers who take them to school, but I only have a mom. But over the years, Mom told me about him, and made sure he was always close to us. She kept his uniform in the closet, and would put money in his pockets, and whenever we were sad, she would send us to take money from Dad."
She concluded that "the time has come to put an end to wars. There is not a mother or a sister who doesn't feel the pain everyday. The time has come for peace."
Hanadi remembers their last conversation: "The last time we spoke, he asked about our eldest. He spoke to me and the entire family, as if he sensed he was going to die," he wife recollected.
Like her daughter, she too called for peace: "The time has come to live in peace and tranquility in this country. I just want to tell my husband that I miss him and that he is forever in my heart."