Moshe Dayan

Eulogy for Ro'i Rotberg

delivered 30 April 1956, Nahal Oz, Israel

 

[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Yesterday morning Ro'i was murdered. The morning's silence dazzled him, and he didn't see those lurking for his soul at the edge of the furrow.

It's not among the Arabs in Gaza, but in our own midst that we must seek Roi's blood. How did we shut our eyes to the reality of our fate, unwilling to see the destiny of our generation in its full cruelty?

Have we forgotten that this small group of young boys, settled in Nahal Oz, is carrying the heavy gates of Gaza on its shoulders?

Beyond this, hundreds of thousands of eyes and arms huddle together and pray for our coming weakness so that they may tear us to pieces? Have we forgotten this? Don't we know that in order for the hope of our destruction to perish, we must be armed and ready, morning and night?

We are a generation of settlement, and without the steel helmet and the canon's maw we cannot plant and build a home. Our children won't have lives to live if we won't dig shelters. And without a barbed wire fence and a machine gun we won't be able to pave a path or drill for water.

The millions of Jews who were exterminated and have no land are watching us from the ashes of Israeli history and command us to settle and rebuild a land for our people.

But beyond the furrow that marks the border, lies a surging sea of hatred and vengeance, yearning for the day serenity will dull our alertness, for the day that we'll listen to the ambassadors of conspiring hypocrisy, calling us to lay down our weapons.

Roi's blood is crying out to us, and only to us, from his shredded body. Although we have sworn a thousand fold that our blood shall not flow in vain, yesterday we were tempted again. We listened. We believed.

We will make our reckoning with ourselves today. Let us not flinch from the hatred that accompanies and fills the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs, who are sitting and longing for the moment their hands can get our blood. We must not avert our gaze, lest our hands be weakened.

That's our generation's fate and our life's choice -- to be willing and armed, strong and unyielding, lest the sword be knocked from our fist and our lives cut down.

Ro'i Rotberg, the blond boy who left Tel-Aviv to build his home alongside the gates of Gaza, to serve as our wall.

Ro'i, the light in his heart blinded his eyes and he did not see the flash of the blade.

The yearning for peace deafened his ears and he did not hear the sound of murder lurking.

The gates of Gaza weighed too heavily on his shoulders and defeated him.

Original Hebrew as Delivered

אתמול עם בוקר נרצח רועי. השקט של בוקר האביב סנוורו, ולא ראה את האורבים לנפשו, על קו התלם.

לא מהערבים אשר בעזה, כי אם מעצמנו נבקש את דמו של רועי. איך עצמנו עינינו מלהסתכל נכוחה בגורלנו, ומלראות את ייעוד דורנו במלוא אכזריותו? הנשכח מאיתנו כי קבוצת נערים זו, היושבת בנחל עוז, נושאת על כתפיה את שערי עזה הכבדים, שערים אשר מעברם מצטופפים מאות אלפי עיניים וידיים המתפללות כי תבוא, בכדי שיוכלו לקורענו לגזרים, השכחנו זאת? הן אנו יודעים, כי על מנת שתגווע התקווה להשמידנו, חייבים אנו להיות, בוקר וערב, מזוינים וערוכים. דור התנחלות אנו, ובלי כובע הפלדה ולוע התותח לא נוכל לטעת ולבנות בית. לילדינו לא יהיו חיים אם לא נחפור מקלטים, ובלי גדר תיל ומקלע לא נוכל לסלול דרך ולקדוח מים. מיליוני היהודים אשר הושמדו ואין להם ארץ צופים אלינו מאפר ההיסטוריה הישראלית, ומצווים עלינו להתנחל ולקומם ארץ לעמנו. אך מעבר לתלם הגבול, גואה ים של שנאה ומאוויי נקם, המצפה ליום בו תקהה השלווה את דריכותנו, ליום בו נאזין לשגרירי הצביעות המתנכלת, הקוראים לנו להניח את נשקנו. אלינו ורק אלינו זועקים דמי רועי וגופו השסוע. על שאלף נדרנו כי דמנו לא ייגר לשווא, ואתמול שוב נתפתינו, האזנו והאמנו. את חשבוננו עם עצמנו נעשה היום.

אל נירתע מלראות את המשטמה המלווה וממלאת חיי מאות אלפי ערבים, היושבים ומצפים לרגע בו תוכל ידם להשיג את דמנו. אל נסב את עינינו פן תיחלש ידינו. זו גזרת דודנו, זו ברירת חיינו, להיות נכונים וחמושים חזקים ונוקשים, או כי תישמט מאגרופנו החרב, וייכרתו חיינו. רועי רוטברג, הנער הבלונדיני אשר הלך מתל אביב לבנות ביתו בשערי עזה, להיות חומה לנו. רועי, האור שבלבו עיוור את עיניו, ולא ראה את ברק המאכלת. הערגה לשלום החרישה את אוזניו, ולא שמע את קול הרצח האורב.

כבדו שערי עזה מכתפיו ויוכלו לו.

As Written for Posterity via Wikipedia and The Jewish Virtual Library

Early yesterday morning Ro'i was murdered. The quiet of the spring morning dazzled him and he did not see those waiting in ambush for him, at the edge of the furrow.

Let us not cast the blame on the murderers today. Why should we declare their burning hatred for us? For eight years they have been sitting in the refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we have been transforming the lands and the villages, where they and their fathers dwelt, into our estate.

It is not among the Arabs in Gaza, but in our own midst that we must seek Roi's blood. How did we shut our eyes and refuse to look squarely at our fate, and see, in all its brutality, the destiny of our generation? Have we forgotten that this group of young people dwelling at Nahal Oz is bearing the heavy gates of Gaza on its shoulders?

Beyond the furrow of the border, a sea of hatred and desire for revenge is swelling, awaiting the day when serenity will dull our path, for the day when we will heed the ambassadors of malevolent hypocrisy who call upon us to lay down our arms.

Roi's blood is crying out to us and only to us from his torn body. Although we have sworn a thousand fold that our blood shall not flow in vain, yesterday again we were tempted, we listened, we believed.

We will make our reckoning with ourselves today; we are a generation that settles the land and without the steel helmet and the cannon's maw, we will not be able to plant a tree and build a home.

Let us not be deterred from seeing the loathing that is inflaming and filling the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who live around us.

Let us not avert our eyes lest our arms weaken. This is the fate of our generation. This is our life's choice -- to be prepared and armed, strong and determined, lest the sword be stricken from our fist and our lives cut down.

The young Ro'i who left Tel Aviv to build his home at the gates of Gaza to be a wall for us was blinded by the light in his heart and he did not see the flash of the sword.

The yearning for peace deafened his ears and he did not hear the voice of murder waiting in ambush. The gates of Gaza weighed too heavily on his shoulders and overcame him.

As Recorded in the AudioBook Rise and Kill First

Ro'i was murdered yesterday in the early morning. The silence of the spring morning blinded him, and he did not see those lying in wait at the edge of the furrow.

Let us not today cast blame on the murderers. Who are we to argue against their potent hatred for us? For eight years, they have been sitting in the refugee in Gaza. And before their eyes we have been turning the land and villages which they and their forefathers lived, until our own inheritance.

We are the generation of settlement, and without steel helmets and the maw of the cannon we will not be able to plant a tree or build a home.

Our children will not live if we do not dig shelters. And without barbed wire fences and machine guns, we will not be able to pave roads or drill for water.

Millions of Jews, annihilated because they had no country, gaze at us from the dust of Jewish history and command us to settle and raise up a land for our people.

We must not flinch from seeing the hatred that accompanies and fills the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who live around us and await the moment when they are strong enough to get our blood. We will not avert our gaze lest our hands grow weak.

This is our generation's destiny.


See also: Wikipedia entry on the death and eulogy of Ro'i Rotberg

Text Note: As delivered Hebrew transcription and as delivered English translation via Hebrew/English professional translator. English version subsequently modified lightly for grammar and flow.

Audio/Video Note: Authenticity, date, and location of recording unknown

Page Created: 6/27/22

U.S. Copyright Status: As delivered Hebrew transcription and English translation = Uncertain. Text from Wikipedia = Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Text from Rise and Kill First = Fair Use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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