No Request Too Small: It may be remembered forever

By Yoel Gold

After the economic crash due to the coronavirus pandemic, Shimon Arbel, the principal of Ulpanat Amana, a religious girls’ school in Kfar Saba, was forced to lay off several staff members.
In an effort to save their jobs, Israel’s Teachers’ Union sent a representative named Baruch Ben Yigal to Kfar Saba to negotiate on their behalf.
Shimon and Baruch sat in the school, trying to work out a compromise. Over the course of their negotiations, the conversation turned to their families.
When Baruch heard that Shimon’s brother is Moshe Arbel, a Knesset member for Israel’s Shas party, a rabbi, an IDF veteran, and a deputy speaker of the Knesset (at the time), his eyes lit up.
“My son Amit is in the Golani Brigade in the army,” Baruch said. “He was supposed to come home for the weekend, but because of the coronavirus it was decided that he needs to stay on base. I haven’t seen him in weeks. I need a small favor. Can you call your brother Moshe and ask him to call the brigade commander and let me visit. He is my only child. I won’t come on the base; I’ll meet him at the gate. I just want to see him and bring him something to eat. That’s all.”
Shimon was wary of calling in such a trivial favor, but when he spoke to his brother, Moshe told him he did not think it was trivial at all.
“It’s a father who hasn’t seen his only child in weeks!” he said. Instead of calling the brigade commander, Moshe got the phone number for Amit’s personal commander. Eventually, permission was granted.
Ecstatic, Baruch packed a box full of Amit’s favorite foods, even driving across Afula to pick up a cheesecake that Amit especially liked. He drove all the way down to Jenin and reunited with his son.
That was the last time they would see each other. On Tuesday, Amit’s unit was in the West Bank to arrest members of a terror cell when they were attacked by a group of local Arabs throwing rocks.
Amit was struck in the head. He was evacuated by helicopter, but he later died of his injuries in an intensive care unit in Haifa, becoming the first IDF casualty of 2020.

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