Miriam Peretz, an Israel Prize-winning educator and former presidential candidate whose son Eliraz was killed in a Palestinian Islamic Jihad attack while serving on the Gaza border in 2010, expressed bittersweet emotions after the operation’s mastermind was killed Saturday by an IDF strike in Gaza.
Speaking at a panel in the central city of Modi’in on the eve of the Tisha B’Av fast day, shortly after the targeted strike on Islamic Jihad’s southern Gaza commander Khaled Mansour, Peretz said it was a “difficult day” for her, and she felt “no joy or exultation.”
“But it’s something that strengthens my spirit [and] my confidence in the Israel Defense Forces, which in the end comes for the enemy,” Peretz added.
Peretz said she believed that there was significance to the timing of the targeted strike on Mansour, stating: “God makes the correction at the right time.” Friday, the day before Tisha B’Av eve, was Eliraz’s birthday, and his daughter was also born on that day.
Peretz became a household name under the most tragic of circumstances after her eldest son Uriel was killed fighting in Lebanon in 1998, followed by his younger brother Eliraz’s death in 2010. Both served in the elite Sayeret Golani unit.
The Casablanca native went on to become a motivational speaker on issues surrounding Zionism and coping with loss. In 2018, she won the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, the country’s highest cultural honor.
Peretz competed for the country’s presidency in 2021, but lost to Isaac Herzog, whom she immediately praised and supported.
Mansour was killed in an Israeli airstrike in the southern city of Rafah on Saturday night, according to officials. The terror group confirmed his death in a statement on Sunday morning.
He was the southern Gaza counterpart of Tayseer Jabari, the terror group’s commander in northern Gaza, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Friday.
The killing of Jabari was the opening strike of the IDF’s Operation Breaking Dawn. Since then, the PIJ has launched over 580 rockets at Israel, according to IDF estimates.