WATCH: Bereaved Israeli Father to Biden, at Son’s Military Funeral: Don’t Pressure Israel to Stop the War

JERUSALEM, Israel — Dr. Yechiel Leiter offered a heartfelt plea to U.S. President Joe Biden at his son Moshe’s funeral in the Mount Herzl military cemetery on Sunday: don’t pressure Israel to stop the war against Hamas.

Maj. (res.) Moshe Yedidyah Leiter was one of four members of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) 551st Brigade’s 697th Battalion who were killed in Gaza by a booby-trapped tunnel on Friday. Thousands of mourners came to his funeral, which lasted several hours.

His father, a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is well known throughout the Jewish world, especially in the U.S., where he was born.

Much of his eulogy was in Hebrew, but he addressed Biden in English:

Dear Mr. President Joe Biden:

I’m taking the liberty of talking to you from Jerusalem. We have two things in common, me and you.

Number one: we were both born in Scranton. Scranton, Pennsylvania. I still have my bank account at the PNC Bank on Joe Biden Boulevard. My mom, may she live to 120, lives in Scranton. She’s a real Scrantonian. And my maternal grandparents are buried in Scranton. So that’s the first thing we have in common, Mr. Biden.

The second thing we have in common is that, as of last Friday, I, like you, am a bereaved parent. You lost a son, and I lost a son. So we have two things in common. That’s why I’m taking the liberty.

So you know — because you lost a son — you know the pain that I’m feeling now. The harrowing sense of darkness, the stabbing of the heart, the longing to once again hug your boy, talk to him about life, advise him on his career.

There’s much I can tell you about how special he was: his fifteen years in special forces, and med school, the manager of two businesses, education institutions, father of six — the last a son, born just three months ago, who will never know his father.

But maybe we can talk about that sometime later.

What I want to say to you here and now, about our dear Moshe, is that he was fighting your fight, Mr. President. He was fighting our fight. He gave his life so the barbarians wouldn’t get through the gates of democracy, and of Judeo-Christian, western values. He was fighting for human freedom, and against all the lies and distortions of the freedom deniers, who fool so many Americans with their double-talk. He was fighting against Hamas-ISIS.

There are rumors, now, that you’re putting pressure on Israel to hold off, to cease the offensive. If those rumors are true — I hope they’re not — but if they’re true, I respectfully ask of you, here, on my son’s grave, cease and desist! Stand back, Mr. President. Don’t pressure us. Let us do what we know how to do, what we must do: defeat evil.

This is a war of light against darkness, of truth against lies, of civility against barbarism. Take it from one plain-speaking Scrantonian to another: we’re going to win this one, with you or without you. We’re going to win it, hands-down. Never have the people of Israel been so united. This is our job. It’s what the Jewish people are in this world to do: to fix the world. And sometimes, fixing the world means using strength, and force.

My Moshe died for a cause. Stand with us, Mr. President. Maybe, as we read in the Biblical Book of Esther, it’s the whole reason you are the leader of the free world. all of you long and illustrious career of leadership was the preparation for this very moent.

Those who stand with us will be blessed; those who do not stand with us will fail.

Stand with Moshe, who loved America, and even trained with your Delta Force during his army service.

Leiter added that his son had told him, before going to war: “I am carrying on my shoulders my grandfathers and grandmothers… who could not fight back.” He stressed that Jews should be inspired not just by the terrible suffering of October 7, but by the heroism that has followed, even if dozens of Israeli soldiers have already lost their lives in the fight to destroy Hamas.
Leitner’s wife spoke movingly about their love, which lasted 20 years. Fellow soldiers remembered Leitner as a born leader with a smile, or an elder brother who led the way. One noted in disbelief: “Just a few hours ago we were in Beit Hanoun [in Gaza], talking about the importance of the war.” Another called Moshe Leitner “my light in life and in battle.” Leitner’s younger brother added: “It was so fitting that you died the death of a hero.”

The funeral ended with three volleys fired by an honor guard in salute.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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