Got up this morning at 2:30am...lots of work to do. One of the soldiers in the Givati Brigade, which is the brigade whose family members we are honoring, was shot during training this morning. We then got the sad news through the officers here at the convention that he had died. I've been in constant contact all day via cell phone, text messaging back and forth and e-mailing with Anat, Personal Assistant to the Vice Prime Minister, Moshe Ya'alon. While Prime Minister Netanyahu was in Canada and the States over the weekend, Minister Ya'alon was Acting Prime Minister. Anat and I worked on the drafting of a letter from Minister Ya'alon, which I will print out and give to each of the 400 family members here this weekend, and we will read tonight during the opening ceremonies. I thought you would enjoy reading this letter, which I am including below: (Words in parenthesis are my own, to make the letter clearer to you)...
Members of the Givati family,
Colonel Moni Katz- Commander of the Givati Brigade,
Dr. Jim Vineyard, Yedidim of Israel
I'm honored to have this opportunity to offer my warmest greetings as you gather tonight in this Givati family Celebration. The Givati Brigade, formed in 1983, has always been in the forefront of the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) forces in times of combat, as well as in the regular line of duty.
Dear Families, each one of you has become through sad circumstances a member of this special Givati group.
In fact, by sad coincidence today, another family has joined your ranks. I would like to take this opportunity of expressing my deepest condolences to the family of the Givati fallen soldier- a tragic accident which occurred earlier today while he was participating in army training - May his soul rest in peace.
To conclude, I would like to express my deep appreciation to all the efforts made on behalf of the IDF forces by one of Israel's most dedicated Yedidim (friends) Dr. Jim Vineyard and his very supportive assistant Mr. David Sloan.
As a Minister in the Israeli government and a former head chief of staff I send my warmest wishes and my thoughts are with all of you tonight.
Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs
This post can also be found on my own blog In Support of Israel.