Father eulogizes five-year-old son: 'Rocket should have hit me instead'

Trails are seen in the sky as Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets that were fired from Gaza, in Sderot, southern Israel February 24, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Ido was killed on Wednesday when a rocket shard penetrated the window of the safe room in the family's Sderot home.

The rocket shard that killed his five-year old son should have taken his life instead, Asaf Avigail said just before the body of his son Ido was tucked into the ground in the Kiryat Gat cemetery.
“I want to ask your forgiveness. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to protect you... I’m sorry that the shard hit you instead of me,” Assaf said in a tearful voice.
Ido was killed Wednesday when a rocket shard penetrated the window of the safe room in the family’s Sderot home. His mother Shani, 7-year-old sister and five members of the extended family were injured in the attack, including his six-year-old cousin.
Asaf was not with the family at the time. On Friday, in his eulogy to his son, he said, “I am sorry that I came too late to stop the bleeding.”
Just a few days ago, Ido had asked him what one needs to do if a warning siren sounds when they are outside.
“I said ‘Ido, anytime that you are with me, you are protected,’” Asaf recalled, adding: “I lied.”
Just a few months ago, he and his wife had spoken about what a special bright child Ido was, as if he was a 50-year-old in the body of a five-year-old.
Asaf recalled how he had recently told his wife that he could not wait to see what Ido would be like when he grew up, or even two years from now, because he was so fascinated by him and curious about him.
“Now I will never know,” he said. “I am sorry that you were taken from us so early.”
“Your mother was so sensitive to you, that she could not sleep at night if something hurt you,” Asaf recalled. “She ran after doctors throughout the country to solve any [medical] problem you had.”
During the COVID-19 period, Asaf was able to see his son every day, but was often working – and his son would urge him to leave the computer and spend more time with him.
“Enough with the screens – be with me,” Ido would tell him. “I am sorry I was not with you more.”
In Ido’s absence, he said, “I will live with a hole in my heart for eternity.”
To other parents, he said, “spend more time with your children, hug them a lot. I understood this only too late,” he said.
In the aftermath of Wednesday’s attack, the wounded, including Ido, were brought to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. It was there, in the dead of night, amid warning sirens, that Asaf came to see his son and wife. A siren rang out again during the funeral.
Asaf ended his eulogy by wishing for an end to the violence.
“I hope that you are the last sacrifice and that this is the last time that a parent buries his child,” he said.

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