Fallen soldier’s family protests tombstone regulations

Fallen soldier’s family protests tombstone regulations

Sister of Lee Matt, who was killed in Gaza, posts clip in bid to convince IDF to include siblings' names along with those of parents

The family of Staff Sergeant Lee Matt, who was killed during Operation Protective Edge, are petitioning the Defense Ministry to change the wording on his tombstone to include the names of his siblings.

“This campaign is a public one. Since not all immediate family members are listed on tombstones, I decided that I have to do something,” said Lee’s father, Moti, at a ceremony at the Mount Herzl military cemetery commemorating the passage of one month since his son’s death.

The Matt family said that they did not want to disrupt the uniformity of the military cemetery by changing the size or type of the tombstone, but rather only to add to the standard text.

Lee’s sister Tal posted an animated video clip to Facebook Sunday titled “Let Me Die in Peace,” which described the close-knit Matt family life and the petition to add the names of his three siblings to his tombstone in addition to those of his parents.

Staff Sergeant Li Mat, 19, from Eilat (screen capture: Channel 2)
Staff Sergeant Lee Matt, 19, from Eilat (screen capture: Channel 2)

The Defense Ministry, which maintains a policy of uniformity for tombstones of all fallen soldiers, has rejected the family’s request.

The clip’s animator, Tom Shrir, a close family friend, hopes that her video will help explain the family’s request, she told Channel 2.

“Maybe animation can help here, by explaining in a straightforward way how simple their request is,” she said.

The Matt family’s appeal has sparked public debate, with some arguing the importance of preserving the standardization of military cemeteries and others voicing their support for the grieving family and saying that they should be allowed to memorialize their son as they see fit.

Sergeant Matt, 19, from Eilat, served in the Paratroopers Brigade’s elite reconnaissance unit and was killed along with two other soldiers after the three entered a booby-trapped house in Khan Younis on July 23.

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