BANGKOK – Tsion and Michal Sa’adia were vacationing in this Southeast Asian city last week when an official from the Israeli Embassy in Thailand tracked them down in room 1243 of the Bangkok Palace Hotel.
Before Israeli envoy Idit Shamir, first secretary deputy chief of mission, could deliver the message, Michal was fearing the worst about her son, Liran, a staff sergeant in a special Israeli army unit. “Just tell me he was only injured,” the mother said as she ran out of her room toward the embassy staffer.
Her son, in fact, was dead, killed in Lebanon during the fighting with Hezbollah.
In sharp juxtaposition to the tragic scene, a local activist named Mustafa Chigag showed up in the street out front of the hotel where the couple was staying, accompanied by Muslim volunteers. He and his companions addressed the many Muslim guests of the hotel, inviting them to a lecture justifying the fight against Israel in Gaza and in Lebanon, raising donations for the Jihadists and telling all Muslims to join the holy war.
Suaib Dido, one of the leaders of the Indonesian Islamic Youth Movement, announced last week that more than 200 Islamic militants — including 43 Thais, one Singaporean, 57 Filipinos, 36 Malaysians and 72 Indonesians — already had signed up to fly to the Middle East to fight Israel.
“This is purely a fight to help our brothers in Palestine and Lebanon,” Dido said.
The Thais and Malaysians already had started their journey to the Middle East, according to Dido’s announcement published by news agencies in Indonesia. Earlier this month, Abu Bakar Bashir, the Indonesian-based spiritual leader, also issued a call for Muslims to head to the Middle East. His call followed Israeli operations in Gaza.
As Muslims in the region recruited militants to fight, the Sa’adias were mourning the death of their son.
After receiving the terrible news, the parents stayed in their room accompanied by friends from their city who had joined them on their tour. The hotel room door was kept open, in accordance with the Jewish mourning tradition. Tsion, the father, started crying first and later supported Michal, the mother, whose tears did not stop. The Sa’adias said that Liran recently had the option to change units, but insisted on being posted with his old team.
According to his loved ones, Liran may have felt that something bad was going to happen, as he recently had called many family members as if to say goodbye.
As for his parents, they said that they had a bad feeling since the first day of their vacation. Liran told them at that time that he was being sent to Lebanon. Tsion started sitting on the floor like a traditional Jewish mourner some time before Liran’s death, without even knowing why.
The fastest way home was a Royal Jordanian flight Friday night, July 21. They arrived the next morning at 4 a.m. in Amman, where a representative of the Israeli Embassy in Jordan accompanied them on a plane back home. The Israeli government paid all expenses.