On Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara bade goodbye to their youngest son, Avner, who was to begin his three years of mandatory military service. The Netanyahus, including Avner’s older brother Yair, who already completed his military service, wished Avner farewell at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill.
“We are moved just like every mother and father who watch their son go off to the army,” the prime minister said, according to The Times of Israel. “We are full of pride and naturally worry. Everyone knows this, every home in Israel, and we are no different. I told Avner to take care of the state and to take care of himself.”
“May they all come home safely,” added his wife, Sara.
Avner was offered a position in the military’s media corps but will instead serve in the IDF’s combat intelligence field. His older brother, who served in the IDF’s spokesperson’s office, was “the only non-commissioned soldier in the army to have a bodyguard detail, a measure usually reserved only for very senior officers,” wrote The Times of Israel. (Yair also elicited unwanted attention for his alleged relationship with a non-Jewish woman.)
Avner’s term in the IDF comes at a time of political upheaval. The day after his parents kissed him goodbye, the prime minister fired two members of his cabinet and called for elections to be held as early as March.
Anna Altman is a writer living in Brooklyn.