Politics

Netanyahu Comforts Family of Fallen Ethiopian Jewish IDF Soldier

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a condolence call Tuesday to the family of Neria Baleta, 21, who fell in battle in southern Gaza on Saturday.

Staff Sgt. Neria Balata, 21, of the Givati brigade (IDF)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pays a condolence call to the family of Staff Sgt. Neria Baleta, an Ethiopian IDF soldier who fell in battle in Gaza. (Haim Zach GPO)

The Times of Israel noted that Baleta was a staff sergeant with a reconnaissance unit of the elite Givati Brigade. He was a member of a large Ethiopian family, which immigrated to Israel as part of a broader rescue of Ethiopian Jews by Israel over the past several decades.

The Prime Minister’s office said in a statement:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Tuesday, 27 February 2024), paid a condolence visit, in Shavei Shomron, with the Baleta family, whose son Neria fell in the southern Gaza Strip this past Saturday.

The Prime Minister and his wife heard about Neria’s personality from his parents and siblings, and how he was determined to contribute to the country. Prime Minister Netanyahu told the family members that their loss was considerable and that the people of Israel embrace and stand by them. Sara Netanyahu said that from their short visit, it was possible to understand that Neria was an exceptional young man.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said [translated from Hebrew]: “I want to stand by you, knowing that we will not relent until we achieve total victory over our enemies. This is a principle for our continued existence; this is what Neria fell for and this is what will happen.”

Neria’s father, Rahamim Baleta, an employee at the Prime Minister’s Office Conversion Authority told the Prime Minister [translated from Hebrew]: “Our people are strong and our path to victory is to wipe out Hamas. We lost a boy – but not in vain.”

The family members asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to commemorate Neria in the rebuilding of the land. The Prime Minister replied that one of the neighborhoods being developed in Shavei Shomron needs to be named after Neria.

The Prime Minister and his wife were accompanied by Samaria Regional Council Chairman Yossi Dagan, the Prime Minister’s Chief-of-Staff Tzahi Braverman and his Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil.

Israeli government spokesperson Tal Heinrich noted Wednesday that 582 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers have fallen since the Hamas terror attack on October 7, with nearly 250 falling in battle within Gaza itself since Israel began its counterattack.

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 recent book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the 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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