Photo: Amir Cohen
Or Shahar
Photo: Amir Cohen
Bereaved father: Son killed in unnecessary war
Father of Or Shahar, killed in Lebanon day before his 21st birthday, eulogizes his son during memorial ceremony. 'As Orik's parents, I don’t recall that we authorized someone to send him to die in a sloppy and foolish optional war,' he says in pain. Shahar plans to send his eulogy to PM Olmert
Yossi Shahar, the father of Sergeant Or Shahar, who was killed 30 days ago in Lebanon one day before his 21st birthday, said during a memorial service at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai on Thursday: "I don’t know how I would feel if Orik would have died in a non-optional war, but this was not a non-optional war. Our feeling is that he died for nothing, in an unnecessary war."


"There is a terrible feeling and grief over the loss, but nonetheless there is an accumulating feeling that the entire thing was a basic mistake, and the great pain has to do with this fact. I am not saying that the issue should not have been dealt with, but what happened was that soldiers were kidnapped and then we went to war, without an agenda and without an organized plan," he charged.


Shahar plans to send his eulogy to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and to return "the laconic letter sent to us, as well as to other families, by his office."


The bereaved father said that this developed in his heart after his son's death, and regardless of the public struggle. According to Shahar, he is seeking to express his personal and private pain.


At the start of the letter, the father talked about Israel's speedy return to routine.


"Did something happen here a month ago? Were the cannons activated, did Katyushas fall, did the Galilee trees catch fire, and did thousands leave their homes in panic?" he asks. "The television broadcasts, on all its channels, the same programs endlessly. So much splendor and satisfaction. Was there a war in this country a month ago?!"


He went on to address the war itself and its necessity.


"'Important' people appear on TV and say that the war 'broke out.' Like a force of nature – no one 'broke it out,' not one ruled how and why it should be conducted, and no one ruled for how long and what outcomes it is meant to bring about. It just 'broke out.' And now go blame someone for something that 'breaks out.'"


'Terrible feeling of guilt'  

"And now, after the war stopped 'breaking out,' our leaders explain to us its advantages and disadvantages. In short, they are doing everything they should have done before sending out Orik and his friends to die."


"And I don't recall, as Orik's parents, that we authorized anyone to send him to die in an optional sloppy and foolish war, in an adventure which wasn’t well prepared with achievements accumulating in retrospect. And what I understand even less is who gave the prime minister the right not to come and tell bereaved parents for what and why their son died."


Shahar turned to the political echelon and asked: "Is it impossible for a leader in this country to stand up and say 'I was wrong'? Yes, like Nasrallah. I misevaluated. I was provided with data which I failed to thoroughly examine. I appointed unworthy people. I made a mistake." 


"What should bereaved parents think when they see the endless stock of information flowing from the different media outlets, describing the war as foolish and unnecessary, and the leadership as confused, inexperienced and unintelligent? Is the feeling of terrible, tearing missing of an opportunity clear?


"Are you aware of our terrible feeling of guilt as parents who did not succeed in properly safeguarding the one-time gift of life we gave out sweet child from the hands of an arrogant and blocked clumsy authority? The heart explodes!"


"What was his life lost for?" he called out.


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