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“We wanted to watch him grow up. He was a sweet smart sensitive boy”

Four-year old Daniel Tragerman z”l, the first Israeli child killed by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge.

On Friday afternoon, 4-year old Daniel Tragerman died of shrapnel wounds from a Hamas mortar fired randomly at the Nahal Oz Kibbutz in the Sha’ar Hanegev region hard by the frontier with Gaza.  The IDF said the mortar round was fired near a school used by Gazans as a refuge landing outside the Tragerman home. The irony was that he was within minutes of leaving home with his parents and brothers to travel to safety at his grandparents in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv. The Times of Israel reported:

 Gila Tragerman said a shell had exploded in their kibbutz, Nahal Oz, some time earlier, convincing the family to leave for her parents’ house in Kiryat Ono, near Tel Aviv.

“The suitcases were already packed,” she said. “A minute before the explosion I went out to take Uri’s baby carrier (her young son) from the clothesline and met the neighbor. I asked him if they were leaving and told him we were setting off now. I went inside and there was the Color Red siren.

“The children were playing in a tent inside the house, and from the moment of the siren to the explosion only three seconds passed. We didn’t have time to get the children and go into the protected room.”

Gila said her son Daniel was very disciplined when it came to rocket sirens.

“He always rushed to the protected room,” she said. “The moment the alarm sounded he knew what to do and where to go. When everyone reached the protected room Daniel would say ‘now we’re all safe.’”

Tragerman called her son a “beautiful, smart, sensitive boy. So sweet…We wanted to watch him grow up with his brothers and fulfill himself.”

Daniel Tragerman was the first Israeli child to die in the 48 day old Operation Protective Edge. That the total of casualties to 68, including 64 IDF service personnel.

The Times of Israel noted  the reaction of Israeli PM Netanyahu:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas would pay a “heavy price” for the killing. In a phone call to local Sha’ar Hanegev council head Alon Shuster, Netanyahu said the IDF and Shin Bet would intensify their operations against Hamas and other Gaza terror groups until sustained calm was guaranteed for Israel.

US Ambassador  to Israel Dan Shapiro  wrote on his Facebook page:

“I condemn in the strongest terms this outrageous terrorist attack and offer condolences to the boy’s family. Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself, which the United States supports”

But the rockets and mortar keep raining death on Israel from Hamas in Gaza. This weekend so far more than 250 rockets were fired. The barrages ranged across the country into central Israel, but were especially fierce in the south and as far east as Beersheba. . Besides the fatal mortar attack in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, rockets smashed into a synagogue in Ashdod injuring three, while, a house in Sderot was severely damaged.

Hamas has fired more than 3,600 rockets during the 48 days, 600 the IDF maintains from positions near schools, homes, Mosques and even hospitals.   IDFreported  an air attack taking out a major Hamas command center in a residential apartment building in Gaza City on Saturday evening.

The mortar that killed 4 year old Daniel Tragerman was likely supplied by Iran. Hamas fired the mortar from a position near the grounds of an UNWRA School that provided refuge for Gazan civilians.  We wonder what UNWRA spokesperson Chris Gunness   would say at this time? He who cried tears over Gazan civilian deaths falsely accusing the IDF of war crimes, while subsequently it was revealed those casualties were caused by misfired Hamas rockets.  Would he now protest the Hamas mortar men who fired   the rounds that killed young Dan Tragerman in Nahal Oz? Perhaps we should tweet him and ask. I am reminded of a poster toted around by a pro-Hamas protester at our Stand for Israel Rally here in Pensacola that said Israel murders children in Gaza.  When challenged he said that he was pro-humanity, not pro-Hamas. Some humanity!  Our deepest rachmonis goes out to the Tragerman family for the loss of their son, the late beloved Dan Tragerman z”l.   He will be laid to rest Sunday at the Hevel Shalom cemetery in the Eshkol Regional Council in the northern Negev.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.