The mourners walked quietly towards Mount Herzl, the military cemetery in Jerusalem. They are coming from all corners and all parts of Israel to say farewell to Dvir Emanueloff, the first IDF fatality of the Gaza War. The vast majority of them never met him. But they walk sadly and quietly to his grave, nonetheless.

The crowd is massive. The people who knew him personally stand in the center, near his freshly dug grave. The rest of the mourners look on from wherever they can find space. Some have to climb high up the hill before they can see anything.

A rabbi is giving a speech. The kind of sweeping, all-encompassing speech that one would expect to hear at a military funeral. I can't help but feel slightly confused as I observe that most people are standing stoically, hardly betraying any emotions. Didn't they come here to mourn?

Dvir's sister, Hadas, begins speaking, and everything changes.

"We only spoke yesterday," she says, "you wanted to say 'shalom' and that you are going to war. I said, 'do not say shalom to me,'" and she bursts into tears.

The feel of the crowd begins to change. Sniffles can be heard, but not seen.

As Hadas soldiers through her speech, she continues to cry after almost every sentence. When she reaches the end, the crowd is no longer hiding their tears. They are openly crying along with her. Soldiers are hugging each other. Men are passing tissues to the women.

"I want my son to know you, the uncle who can fix his cars. I don't want to say goodbye, I want you here with your big smile. Give Dad a kiss. I love you and I thank you for all the years that you were my dearest brother."

They are trying so hard to hold back, trying so hard to be strong in this time of difficulty, but this outpour of emotion is too much. The crowd ripples into a sea of sniffles.

Speaker after speaker gets up. More rabbis. Two of his friends. One friend, Avichai, imagines a life without Dvir: "Only yesterday you were alive and breathing. Only yesterday you called me... How will our graduation be like without you, what will be with all our plans, how will our Fridays be like now? How will it be without your special smile? You left us orphaned."

Avichai is in the army and perhaps because of this it seems particularly hard for him to handle his emotions. He talks in a monotone. But every now and then his voice breaks, and everyone can suddenly see the heartache he is going through. With each crack of his voice, the crowd breaks more. Their strength saps.

The funeral continues, as so many have in this place before it, in Israeli military tradition. A man sings a prayer. And soldiers shoot into the air. As they shoot, the family can be heard wailing, as if the fired bullets have released something within them.

People begin to leave. Others file towards the grave to pay their last respects. Many carry stones with them to put on the grave, an Israeli tradition.

As I stand here, the second funeral I have attended in two months, more than in my entire life, I cannot help but find this whole scene remarkable. In what other country do people who don't know a simple soldier flock to his funeral? In what other country is everyone truly affected by the passing of every single person they do not know?

The fact that has become apparent to me in my stay in Israel is that every life, every person who lives in its boundaries, is regarded as a special, unique diamond. And once the spark of that diamond leaves, the entire nation feels it. With each casualty, Israel mourns.

The crowd starts to thin. The press leaves. And a few mourners remain. One girl is staring at the grave and crying. Sobbing like I have never seen anyone sob before except on television. For an hour she cries. For an hour her sobs cut into our hearts like knives. I don't know who she is. Maybe Hadas? Whoever she is, she seems to be the nucleus of everyone's emotions. The one person willing to truly express the despair this nation feels. The despair of losing a dear, cherished brother. The despair of the necessity of war. And the despair that G‑d still hasn't delivered us from our plight.