Liran Saadia was a curious and goodhearted child who loved Nature and animals. One day, his father found a small turtle outside, picked him up excitedly and ran to give it to Liran as a present. His father was convinced that Liran would be happy but his reaction was surprising.
In memory of Liran Saadia
Liran was the oldest child of Michal and Tsion and brother to Hadar, Yarden and Aviv. He was born on the 8th of Iyar 5745 (April 29, 1985) in Kiryat Shemonah. Liran grew up and went to school in the city he was born in. He attended the Hanadiv primary school in Metulla and the Danziger Comprehensive High School. From the start, he was a gifted child and always aspired to excellence. Already in preschool, he knew how to solve complicated exercises in his little head and his teachers were surprised and amazed. It was only natural that in adolescence he would choose physics and math as his specialization.
Throughout his studies, Liran got excellent report cards, primarily in math and sciences. Finally, in Grade 10, he was chosen to attend summer school at Tel Aviv University. Also there he chose math and science courses and fully invested himself. At the end of the course, he was chosen as the outstanding student and won a computer. But he insisted on donating it to a needy family and did not rest until the computer reached its destination.
Liran stood out in other endeavors as well. From a young age, he played basketball, first with the Maccabi Metulla team and later, and until the army, with the Hapoel Kiryat Shemonah team. He showed particular talent in art and music. Later on, he also became interested in another project when he “fell in love with” the guitar and taught himself to play.
While still a young child, he showed a love and attraction to drawing and in particular drawing comics. As was his style, he devoted himself to the activity. He started learning it seriously – on his own and thoroughly – and even developed his own unique style. His artistic talent was not in doubt and Liran quickly became a writer for the local newspaper “Mayda Shemonah”, where he had a regular weekly column in which he presented his work. Later on, his work began to appear in Maariv for Kids and Liran became known as a young writer. His mother Michal recounts that already as a boy he would give up fun activities and new clothes in order to buy the best and most expensive drawing materials, primarily water paints and pencils. He knew exactly what he wanted and with what materials to work with. He taught himself everything. From books that he bought himself, he learned how to draw lines, how to divide up frames, to do sketches, to plan a page. And from the day he started drawing and to take an interest in comics, he would travel from Kiryat Shemonah every year to attend the Comics Festival in Tel Aviv. Fink was a favorite artist of his and Liran tried not to miss an event in which Uri was speaking. On one special occasion, which was the first time he went with his aunt to Tel Aviv, the big city, for the Comics Festival, he excitedly took a camera with him in order to have a picture taken with Uri Fink who had just published another book.
Liran Saadia z"l
Since then he would go to every festival and even in his last year, he insisted on going to war rather than remaining a training instructor. I was scared but he said that it’s for the best since in this way he will be able to get leave in order to go to Tel Aviv for the Comics Festival.
Liran was talented and gifted but the saying “Derech Eretz comes before Torah” was carved in stone for him wherever he went and in whatever he did. He was a member of the youth movement “Idan – A Beautiful World through its Youth”, whose goal was involvement and helping the community, and there he did the Young Counselor course. Liran was highly sensitive to the distress of both humans and animals and was always ready to assist and to contribute. Thus, for example, he used to help out failing students. He used to bring them home and give them personal tutoring; his home became a classroom. When he found an animal wandering in the street, he brought it home and adopted it. One of the most moving incidents occurred in his childhood when his father brought him a little turtle he had found outdoors. To his father’s surprise, Liran did not accept the gift but rather started to cry and to demand that his father return the turtle to where he had found him and not to separate him from his mother. That was Liran. He never stopped surprising his family and demonstrating his care for the environment. When he was in Grade 12, he wrote an essay on “Volunteering in the Community”, a topic that was so close to his heart, and what he wrote reflected who he was.
When it came time for him to join the army, at the end of November 2003, Liran chose an elite unit, serving as a radioman in the Egoz commando unit. During his service, he did the platoon leader course and served as a training instructor. As in civilian life, here also he aspired to excellence and twice won a certificate of excellence – as a trainee and as a platoon leader. Liran is remembered as someone who always tried to make peace between his friends and was always the conciliator of the group. His friends described him as resembling Aaron the Priest: “He loved peace and chased peace” and would always help the stragglers keep up, despite the heavy equipment on his back. Liran continued to volunteer on behalf of the community also during his army service and was active with his friends in the “Joy for a Child” organization.
Three months before his release, Liran preferred to leave his trainees and to return to his crew in the Sayeret. He said that he missed his friends and felt that he could not abandon them. The Second Lebanese War broke out near the end of his service. His many plans for the future were cut short when he went up to the front line and his family and friends were left with only memories and stories about him.
First Sergeant Liran Saadia fell in battle in Southern Lebanon on the 24th of Tammuz 5766 (July 20, 2006). A force of the Egoz commando unit was located in the eastern part of the Maroun al Raas village which is opposite Avivim. It encountered armed Hezbollah terrorists who opened fire on them. Four members of the force were killed including Liran. The rescue of the force was carried out under fire and with the help of covering fire from attack helicopters. Major Benji Hillman, First Sargent Nadav Baeloha and First Sargent Rafanael Muskal fell together with him.
A family member described him as follows in his eulogy: “Liran was a child with the soul of an angel and now he is with the angels.” Liran who was 21 when he was killed was buried in the military cemetery in Kiryat Shemonah. He left behind parents, a brother and two sisters.
Comments from Uri Fink and Oded Naaman, creators of the clip “Stories from the Box”:
We had several goals in the making of the clip: to memorialize Liran as an artist and as a man; to touch on the subject of parenthood and separation and whether it is possible to entertain a bit; Liran used his abilities as a comics artist to make people laugh and to cheer them up and it seems to me that that is how he would have wanted a clip devoted to him to be like.
From the beginning, it was clear that Liran’s clip would be very accessible and light since based on what we knew about Liran and his work, it was his smile, his connectivity and his lack of pretense that characterized him. In the first stage, we needed to find a story that would attain our goals. We asked for as many stories as possible about Liran from is family and his friends and we were inundated with countless inspiring good deeds, each of which could have been a clip on its own. Finally, we converged on a memory of Liran’s father about the turtle that he found outdoors and which Liran asked to be returned to its parents. Touching on the farewell from his parents was suited to the context in which the clip was being produced and the empathy that Liran showed to the turtle at such a young age illustrated his unique character.
The choice to tell the story from the viewpoint of the turtle was of course in order to adopt a non-conventional viewpoint but also in order to amplify the significance of the deed. It was important for us to use and perpetuate Liran’s artwork and therefore we used the wonder and pleasure of the turtle from Liran’s drawings when he is placed on the table in order to distract his attention from the argument between Liran and his father and in order not to miss his surprise when he realizes that he has been returned to his mother.
We did not choose to use modern drawing for the clip but rather we remained more or less with my regular style and only gave up on the contour lines in order to soften my drawings somewhat and also to modify them for animation. We did not think it would be right to draw exact portraits of the characters in the plot and Liran and his father are drawn as fairly generic characters in order to give the clip a more universal character and so that it will describe a child with a big heart and boundless sensitivity, who in addition to everything else was a talented comics artist.