In a funeral that symbolized all funerals in Israel, the eloquence of prominent Israeli author David Grossman summed up the feelings of several families in Israel when he eulogized his own son, among 115 soldiers killed in battle.
“I can’t even say out loud how much you were ‘someone to run with’ to me,” Grossman said, referring to the title of one of his books, Someone to Run With. “Your short life was good, and I hope I was a worthy father.”
Staff Sgt. Uri Grossman, 20, of Mevasseret Zion, was laid to rest this week at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Military cemetery. Uri, a tank commander, was killed in a battle in Lebanon just two days before a cease-fire brought a halt to the fighting.
“Dear Uri, it’s already been three days and almost every thought begins in the negative,” Grossman said at his son’s funeral. “He’s not coming back, we’re not going to talk, we’re not going to laugh. This boy will no longer share his ironic outlook and terrific sense of humor. There will not this young man with such deep understanding beyond his years. There will not be that warm smile and healthy appetite. There will not exist that rare combination of firmness and sensitivity, or that quick wit or wisdom. There will not exist Uri’s infinite gentleness.”
A day after a cease-fire went into effect between Israel and Hizballah, Israel buried eight of its soldiers killed in battle over the weekend in Lebanon. Uri was killed two days after his father had publicly urged the government to end the war.
Uri was two weeks shy of his 21st birthday, served as a tank commander and was due to complete his military service in November. He had planned to travel abroad after his army service and then study theater. In his last conversation with his parents, he said he was happy for the upcoming cease-fire and said he would be home Friday night for dinner. Instead, he was buried Tuesday.
Grossman did not speak of the war during the funeral. “We, our family, have already lost this war,” he said.