President Reuven Rivlin paid a condolence visit Sunday to the family of Malachi Rosenfeld, the 26-year-old Israeli murdered by Arab terrorists last week as he returned home from a basketball game.
Rosenfeld was fatally wounded by a Palestinian gunman, in an attack which also left three of his friends injured, as they drove close to the village of Shvut Rachel, near Shiloh in Samaria. Malachi died of his wounds a day later.
Speaking at his home in Kochav Hashachar Sunday, Malachi's father Eliezer told of his pain at losing his son.
"My son just wanted to play basketball, and come home to tell me about the game," he told Rivlin.
The President listened as Malachi’s parents told him about their "gifted" son. They told him how, among other things, over the last three years Malachi had excelled in his studies of philosophy, economics, and political science at the Hebrew University.
Malachi's mother Sarah related the still-raw pain that her family was struggling to cope with.
"His loss will be greatly felt between his brothers and sisters, as it will for us as parents."
She described her son as a caring and spiritual young man.
"I always knew I could relate to Malachi and consult with him. He knew how to reach deep within the soul of each of his siblings and was part of every aspect of our lives," she said.
Addressing the family, President Rivlin expressed his admiration for the strength they had shown in choosing to donate their murdered son's organs to help others.
"Your decision to donate Malachi’s organs is an example of your true strength of spirit, and of genuine heroism," he said.
But mother Sarah said it was the natural thing to do. "If something good could come out of such destruction, this terrible end, then we had no doubt what we had to do," she responded.
The President, who was accompanied on the visit by Director General of the President’s Office Harel Tubi, also heard how the tragedy had hit the family just a few years after losing their eldest son Yitzhak, and of the great pain with which they were dealing.
"All of our hearts are with you here, and I pray that we will be beside you again in the many happier times that await you in the future," Rivlin said.
In a reference as well to the Fast of Tamuz, which is being observed by Jews today in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem, he added: "The days of mourning are dark days when we have the challenge of, as the verse says, to ‘shake ourselves free, and rise from the dust’, and we will be here to accompany you on this difficult journey."