Major Eliraz Perets
Second son of Eliezer and Miriam
Born 11 August 1978 in Ofira, Sharm-E-Sheikh
Died 26 March 2010, buried in Mount Herzel, Jerusalem
Brother to Lieutenant Uriel Peretz, who fell in combat in Lebanon on 6 December, 1997, Hadas, Avichai, Elisaf, and Batel
Husband of Shlomit and father to Or Hadash Uriel, Hallel Miriam, Shir Zion, and Gili Bat Ami
Eliraz grew up in Ofira, between the wild desert and the sea. When Egypt signed the peace treaty with Israel, the Peretz family moved to Givat Zeev near Jerusalem. Before he was drafted into the army, Eliraz learned in a pre-military academy in Atzmonah, Gush Katif. There, Eliraz strengthened himself spiritually and physically, and immersed himself in the Torah and love for the people and land of Israel. At Eliraz' funeral, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, the head of the academy, eulogized him: "He was one of the greatest of my students."
Eliraz was drafted into the Golani platoon. At the beginning of his service, his older brother Uriel was killed in combat in Lebanon. In order to allow Eliraz to continue as a combat soldier, his parents Eliezer and Miriam had to sign a special permission form specifically allowing him to continue in a combat position, despite the possibility of missions risking injury or death. Because of Eliraz' feeling that serving as a soldier was a special mission and purpose, his parents signed the form.
During the course of his military service, Eliraz wrote to a friend: "One has to give all of himself… If you love, love with no limits…If you are going to be friends, be friends with no limits… If you are going to be a combat soldier, then without limits and give it your all… That is what we call Mesirut Nefesh: giving from your body, strength, money, heart for someone or something outside of you. Especially not doing so once in a while, but doing it continuously, every day and every minute"
After "Operation Parapet” (Chomat Magen), Eliraz married Shlomit and together they moved to Shalev in Gush Katif. When their first child was born, they chose to memorialize Eliraz' brother Uriel, and named him Or Hadash (New Light) Uriel.
Eliraz' father, Eliezer, passed away that same year from a heart attack complicated by severe illness. On his gravestone is written "He did not regret the loss of his eldest Uriel."
The family, including Eliraz, coped with his passing and continued on.
During the course of the second Lebanon war, Eliraz arrived at the location where his brother Uriel fell, and brought back two stones: a black stone symbolizing bereavement, and a white stone symbolizing life. Miriam, his mother, said "These two stones are my personal Tablets of the Covenenant, Uriel and Eliraz, who are engraved in stone. From these stones, the Temple [in Jerusalem] will be built."
After the war, Eliraz left the army to continue his education. He earned a degree in education and a
teaching certificate, and studied in Beit Midrash in Eli. Eliraz moved easily between the two worlds of the scholar and the warrior, between the world of Torah and the world of the military. He connected with both, and succeeded there.
Shlomit, Eliraz's wife, tells that every night, after reciting the Shmah, Eliraz would recite:
Please G-d, Please G-d,
Make me a tool for your service,
In the place where hatred dwells,
Let me plant love,
In the place of insult — forgiveness,
In the place of darkness — light,
In the place of sadness — joy.
After completing his studies, Eliraz returned to various positions in the army, and participated in "Operation Cast Lead" (Oferet Yetzuka) as an officer of the Golani brigade. On the Friday before the end of his yearly reserve duty, Major Eliraz Peretz was killed in an encounter with terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
We have lost a dear son, husband, father, and brother who loved this life more than anything, and at the same time became an assistant battalion commander, involved himself in dangerous missions out of a conviction that he had to place himself before any danger to the nation. His dedication to Israel was so important to him that his death goes beyond private mourning amount the family, and becomes the grief of the entire Jewish nation, for which he fought and was killed.