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Pedaya’s Letter

Pedaya Mark was already a hero from a very young age. When his father, Rabbi Miki Mark was killed, Pedaya and his brothers needed a lot of strength to overcome his death. Despite this terrible hardship they succeeded in continuing to be happy children.

Another tragedy struck Pedaya when he lost his older brother Shlomi, who he admired so much, in a car accident. Once again Pedaya gathered all the strength he had left and he stood strong with his siblings. Pedaya lived in Otniel with his six sisters and three remaining brothers who loved to have fun with him. In the summer they would go to the seaside and sail a boat; and in the winter they enjoyed breathing in the air of the green nature typical of the southern Hebron mountains.

Pedaya decided that he would follow in his older brother's footsteps. When it came time to enlist in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), Pedaya did not need to serve in a combat unit. The State of Israel told the Mark family: "You have contributed a tremendous amount," but Pedaya insisted. He was accepted into the Givati commando unit and even became an officer. The emblem of the Givati brigade is a fox resembling the foxes of Samson, the hero who defeated the Philistines, living on the shore of ancient Gaza.

On the festival of Simchat Torah Pedaya went out to fight with his fellow soldiers, with bravery and courage. They defeated many terrorists. He sent a letter to his family and wrote that the days are indeed difficult but we will overcome and win. He wanted to maintain an upbeat spirit for the soldiers and the family. On one of the days of fighting, the terrorists launched a missile that hit the vehicle in which Pedaya and his fellow fighters were traveling, Pedaya was killed along with several members of the crew.

It was a very difficult and sad day for the nation of Israel and the Mark family. The family asked themselves how they could overcome so much sadness, and then they remembered that they had a letter from their Padushka, the nickname they gave Pedaya. In the letter, Pedaya wrote asking them to be strong and told them he was doing exactly what he always wanted: to protect the people of Israel! And so, Pedaya's brothers and sisters decided to be strong. And the entire nation of Israel embraced them from far and near.


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