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Father commits suicide on grave of soldier son who fell in Lebanon

Aryeh Bar-Natan, 85, who was suffering from terminal cancer, was devoted to the memory of his son, who died in the 1990s

Zaka rescue personnel carry a body at the scene where a bereaved father committed suicide on his son's grave at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl, August 2, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Zaka rescue personnel carry a body at the scene where a bereaved father committed suicide on his son's grave at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl, August 2, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A bereaved father committed suicide Friday as he stood by the grave of his fallen soldier son at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.

Aryeh Bar-Natan’s son Haim died in the 1990s in Lebanon and was his only child, a friend said. Aryeh, 85, had been devoted to keeping the memory of Haim alive ever since his death, Hebrew-language news website Ynet said.

Aryeh had been suffering from terminal cancer in the past two years.

According to the friend, whenever he felt unwell, Aryeh would drive to the cemetery to sleep on his son Haim’s gravestone, and would say the following morning that he was feeling better and that it was preferable to any medical treatment.

Israeli soldiers and bereaved families visit graves of fallen soldiers at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, May 05, 2014. (Photo credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers and bereaved families visit graves of fallen soldiers at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, May 5, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“The boy was everything to him, and after he died he was always grieving,” said Shmuel Meniv, another friend. “The father moved to a small community and established a park in his son’s name. He was planning to make the spot a place where schoolchildren could visit and learn about Israel’s heritage. He would speak only of this, but did not achieve this despite it being his dream. Over the past two years, he fell ill with terminal cancer, his situation deteriorated and he would occasionally go to sleep on his son’s grave.”

There was no mention of the fallen soldier’s mother or whether his parents were still married.

The incident occurred on the same day Herzl Shaul, the father of fallen soldier Oron Shaul, succumbed to cancer. Staff Sergeant Shaul was killed during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip two years ago, and his body is being held by the Hamas terror group.

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