Bereaved mother says ‘no joy’ as son’s killer assassinated in Gaza strike

Miriam Peretz praises the IDF for eliminating a top Islamic Jihad commander, but says she has “no joy in her heart.”

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

Renowned Israeli educator and Israel Prize laureate Miriam Peretz said she felt “no joy or happiness” on hearing that a senior Islamic Jihad commander, who was responsible for masterminding a terror attack that killed her son in 2010, was assassinated by the IDF on Saturday.

“There is no joy on this day, which is a day of national destruction and also a day of personal destruction,” Peretz told Kan Public Radio, referencing the Tisha b’Av fast which marks the destruction of the two biblical temples.

She expressed gratitude for the IDF, which, she said, “closed the circle” and always “comes for the enemy” in the end.

Peretz, a former presidential candidate, lost her son Uriel during fighting in Lebanon in 1998, and 12 years later, her other son, Major Eliraz Peretz, was killed in Islamic Jihad attack alongside First Sergeant Ilan Sviatkovski.

Peretz said she believed it was no coincidence that the airstrike that killed Khaled Mansour on Saturday fell on the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar year. “God makes the correction at the right time,” she said, noting that the eve of Tisha b’Av was Eliraz’s birthday, and his own daughter was also born on that day.

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Speaking to Israel Hayom, Peretz said: “So it’s not a day of joy, but a day of thanks. Thanks to the IDF soldiers, to the security forces, thanks to the residents of [surrounding] the Gaza Strip and to the people who live very complex lives there. When we walk around our homes freely, they are stuck in shelters for days on end.

“Thanks to the IDF forces who knew how to get to that terrorist and eliminate him. I admit and am proud that our nation is a nation that remembers: we remember a destruction that happened 2,000 years ago and we also remember those who hurt us. And we say to the enemy, ‘Know that we will reach you, even if it takes 12 years. We remember and we will get to you.’

“This is how you build a sense of victory. The enemy knew that maybe years would pass, but the blood of Eliraz and the blood of Ilan the soldier who fell with him and the blood of the other IDF soldiers and the civilians are not in vain.

“That jihadist did not just intend to kill Eliraz. He meant to break my spirit. He intended it to be that we wouldn’t be able go on. But we have, and I want you to know that this is our victory,” she declared.

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“I want to tell him (the terrorist) that we are expanding our border in Gaza, establishing new settlements and continuing to raise new generations like my granddaughter and Eliraz’s four children. They grew up and they continue to live in Israel. They are about to enlist in the IDF and they are carrying on the spirit. He did not break our spirit – and that is our victory,” she said.

“What power the Jewish people have – the power of memory,” Peretz concluded.

Speaking to Kan Public Radio, Peretz also made an impassioned plea for Jews everywhere to unite and put their “petty differences” aside. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you’re Ashkenazi or Sephardi, use today to spread the love, think twice before getting angry at someone, before honking your horn on the road. We have to be together.”

In 2018, Peretz brought an American Jewish audience to tears in a speech in English.

Mansour was killed in an air raid on Saturday night, along with his deputy, Ziad Medalle, and commander of the Islamic Jihad’s Rafah Brigade, Khatab Emazi.

Over the last few days, Mansour had been working on a plan to deploy anti-tank missiles along the border, the IDF said.

Mansour was involved in carrying out many terrorist attacks over the years as well as initiating hundreds of rocket attacks against Israel.