Broken heart: 6-year-old receives back drawing sent to father who fell in Gaza

Family says photo of Sergeant Major Itai Perry holding his son's drawing with a big heart captures exactly who he was - a man defined by his huge smile, big heart, optimism and colorful personality, as depicted by his son

The family of late IDF Sergeant Major Itai Perry discovered among his belongings a touching drawing drawn by his 6-year-old son, Ido. Perry was photographed holding the drawing, which he carried with him in his military uniform.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
Read more:
In a heartfelt drawing, Ido wrote, "I love you, I miss you, Dad. I hope you stay safe." Itai's widow, Hila Perry, shared, "We found the drawing among the belongings brought to us from the army."
3 View gallery
רס"ם במיל' איתי פרי
רס"ם במיל' איתי פרי
Sergeant Major Itai Perry
Last Sunday, 36-year-old Sergeant Major Perry fell during combat in Gaza and was laid to rest in the military section of the cemetery in Modi'in. The photograph of Perry holding the drawing he received from his son has resonated deeply with many.
"The image of Itai with the drawing has been shared worldwide," says Yael Noga, Itai's mother-in-law. "This photo, with the drawing, captures precisely who Perry was – a man defined by his huge smile, big heart, optimism and colorful personality as depicted by his son. That's exactly who he was."
Hila, 35, mother to 6-year-old Ido, 3-and-a-half-year-old Gil and 8-month-old baby Ori, shares the story of how her husband received the drawing. "In the first weeks, Itai was stationed in a staging area that was challenging to reach. On one occasion, he passed by the house of a friend's grandfather to collect his belongings after he evacuated from the warzone. I asked Ido if he wanted to send something to his father, and he drew the heart, adding a handwritten note."
3 View gallery
אשתו ואביו של רס"מ איתי פרי ז"ל שנפל בקרבות ברצועת עזה
אשתו ואביו של רס"מ איתי פרי ז"ל שנפל בקרבות ברצועת עזה
Hila Perry with Itai's father, Nati
(Photo: Jorge Novominsky)
"When Itai received the drawing, he sent us a photo back, holding it, and putting it in his uniform pocket. It turns out he was carrying Ido's heartfelt message wherever he went," Hila recounts, emphasizing the deep father and son bond the two shared.
"Ido is a smart child. He expressed his concerns from the very beginning, writing 'I hope you stay safe,' but he also articulated more profound thoughts. I was very reassuring and confident when I told him everything would be okay and that his dad would come back. Little did I know I was lying to him. There's still a glimmer of hope in him that he can do something to bring his father back. He told me, 'I am now the man of the family.' Both he and Gil are angry that his dad went to the army. They were angry even before that. Every farewell to him was difficult for them. When he came home from reserve duty and went back to the base, it was very tough for the kids."
Hila shares that Ido was happy to receive the drawing back. "I told him that someone wanted to make me a necklace in the shape of the heart he drew. He said, 'Only I can wear the necklace; it's a drawing I drew.'"
3 View gallery
איתי פרי
איתי פרי
Itai Perry
Hila continued to talk about her husband, a mechanical engineer who worked in a hi-tech company. "It might sound cliché, but he truly had a big heart. He loved life, his family and his friends. He told me he was afraid to go into Gaza, mainly afraid of the unknown, but he didn't provide many details. He didn't share much to spare me the worry."
Itai's father Nati added, "We heard many stories about Itai from his friends in the army. I didn't realize how professional he was, and how they admired and respected him uniquely within his unit. Hila is surrounded by an amazing family, not just us, her parents, and her sister, but friends who are deeply connected to her and are here 24/7. She will always be surrounded by support."
The grieving father describes the last meeting with his son at their home in Modi'in, with Hila and the children. "We met here at home, and he was different. He was very calm. The kids were tense, especially Ido, very tense. This time he wanted to be with him. He wanted to return to Gaza calmly; that's how I felt. I was amazed; it wasn't my usual Itai."
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.