The National Religious Pay The Highest Price
My son's yeshiva high-school, Yashlatz, is in mourning.
Aged just 18, Netanel Littman, a 12th Grade pupil, was gunned down this past Friday, together with his father Rabbi Yaakov Littman, both murdered on their way to their family's Shabbat Chatan wedding celebration.
Posters and newspaper cuttings are on the school's walls, and the somber students take turns to talk about and eulogise their fellow student and beloved friend Natanel.
At the evening prayer last night, they announced that Natanel had committed this past Simchat Torah to learn a large number of tractates; he had not been able to complete this gargantuan task. They asked for volunteers to complete the learning on Netanel's behalf.
Yashlatz has been through such horrific tragedy before, including the savage terror attack at the adjoining Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, where 8 boys were murdered by an Arab terrorist in 2008 - five of whom were teenage boys from Yashlatz.
According to staff at the school, at least 40 students from Yashlatz have been murdered or died in action, since the school was established 50 years ago.
A rough calculation puts that at over 2% of all the pupils have died young to war and terror.
In my son's class alone, he named five pupils who have tragically lost their first degree relatives. Parents and siblings...
There is no community in Israel which pays a higher ultimate price, in blood, for Eretz Yisrael, than the National Religious community.
This is mainly because National Religious families live disproportionately in high-risk communities over the Green Line, and they volunteer to serve in combat units in the Army.
The National Religious knowingly put themselves, and their families, at such risk because they are ideologically and religiously motivated and dedicated to doing so.
They know, from an early age, the supreme value of the Land of Israel, building it, and the importance of implementing their ideals and values with their souls and bodies.