Hundreds attended the funeral Sunday morning for four-year-old Daniel Tragerman, who was killed Friday by a mortar shell strike on his home at the Gaza border kibbutz of Nahal Oz.
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During a eulogy for her son, Tragerman's mother, Gila, said, “My Danieli, I don’t understand what’s going on here and don’t believe that I am at a cemetery to take leave of you. You are the love of my life, a perfect child, the dream of every mother. So beautiful. I can’t absorb what’s happening. We were the happiest family. I want to say thank-you for teaching us to smile.”
“You were a child until the last moment of the mortar shell (strike). We wanted to protect you and go to grandma and grandpa’s house, but the sirens didn’t save us. We have left the Spiderman costume for you that you loved. We always said that you would be the youngest leader who would bring peace. Apparently if not in your lifetime, then in death,” the mother added.
Daniel Tragerman’s aunt also spoke, telling about his routine during the current hostilities. “Just a month ago,” she said, “we prepared packages for the soldiers. You made a picture but wouldn’t say what you drew. It was only your mother whom you told that you drew a monster to protect the children, but it didn’t protect you.”
There was also a call at the funeral for the government to act. “All of us know that we have failed to protect Daniel,” the head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, Alon Schuster, said. “From here, we demand the Israeli government does everything it can, and beyond that, by any means, to prevent the continuation of the killing that is occurring in this place.”
Addressing the 4-year-old directly, Schuster added: “I apologize on behalf of all of us, Daniel, from the parents, over the fact that we have failed to protect you, and I promise that we will do everything so that life also goes on after you are gone.”
Speaking at the funeral, President Reuven Rivlin spoke of the sad ironies facing children in Israel’s south, saying that even though Targeman had a backyard, he played indoors, that he was "a boy too small to cross the road, because it is dangerous, but big enough to know what rocket sirens are."
The president told residents of Israel's south that "the whole nation is with you," adding that "for the past 60 years, Nahal Oz has been located at the gates of Gaza, but the war is still not over. You have been, and still are, protecting the state with your bodies and your courage."