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The names of the heroes who died defending Israel
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yedidya eliyahu

Sergeant First Class (Res.) Yedidya Eliyahu was a fighter in the Combat Engineering Corps who tragically fell in the battles in the Gaza Strip in early November, just two weeks before his 26th birthday. A resident of Ramat Gilad in Samaria, Yedidya left behind his wife, Meitar, and two young daughters, Maor Ziva and Avigail. At the time of his death, Meitar was pregnant with their third child, Porat Avia, who was born just weeks after Yedidya’s passing.

A Man of Valor and Family

Yedidya was known for his calm and joyful nature. He was deeply involved in raising his children, always present and supportive. Alongside his military service, he worked in education and construction, showcasing his golden hands in everything he did. Meitar describes Yedidya as a hands-on father who shared all responsibilities equally with her, whether in technical tasks or in nurturing their children.

Yedidya’s military career was marked by high motivation and morale. He was among the first forces called up during the escalation in Gaza and entered the conflict without fear, driven by a sense of mission and duty. According to Meitar, Yedidya did not show any signs of fear or worry, believing firmly that they had nothing to fear and that it was their duty to avenge Israel’s honor, trusting that God was with them in battle.

The Battle and Its Aftermath

Yedidya was killed during the ground maneuver in Gaza. His unit faced intense combat, and during a retreat to tend to their damaged equipment, Yedidya’s vehicle was struck by heavy mortar and sniper fire. He died instantly from a direct hit, leaving a profound void in his family’s life. Two other reservists were wounded in the attack but survived.

A Family’s Struggle and Strength

Following Yedidya’s death, Meitar faced the immense challenge of raising their children alone. She shared her heart-wrenching experience of bringing their newborn son, Porat Avia, to his father’s grave for the first time. This moment was both poignant and painful, as she laid the baby on Yedidya’s tombstone, covered with the Israeli flag, symbolizing the closest connection between father and son.

At just 25 years old, Meitar found herself a young widow, dealing with the loss of her beloved husband while preparing for the birth of their child. She expressed her hopes and prayers that she could convey to their children who their father was, instilling in them the values and legacy Yedidya left behind. Despite the grief and the immense responsibility, Meitar remains focused on living life fully and ensuring that her children know the love and bravery of their father.

A Community of Support

The story of Meitar and Yedidya Eliyahu is a testament to the strength and resilience of Israel’s military families. Since October 7, many new widows have joined the ranks of the bereaved, with 26 of them pregnant at the time of their husbands’ deaths. Five have given birth since the beginning of the war, highlighting the ongoing cycle of life and death that these families navigate.

The Organization of IDF Widows and Orphans has been a crucial source of support, offering a community and resources to help these families cope with their loss. The organization’s chairwoman, Tami Shelach, emphasized the staggering numbers and the vital role of support networks in helping these families through their grief.

Honoring Yedidya’s Memory

To honor Yedidya’s memory, his family produced a special memorial film, featuring testimonies from his friends and relatives. The film captures Yedidya’s unique character and the values that guided him throughout his life. His father, Rabbi Yoram Eliyahu, recounted a prophetic dream he had just days before Yedidya’s death, where he saw his son returning home with a radiant light. This dream, coupled with the family’s enduring faith, underscores the profound impact Yedidya had on those around him.

Yedidya’s mother, Ziva Eliyahu, described her son as a dream child, full of spiritual fervor and dedicated to prayer and song. She recalled his commitment to nurturing and guiding young people, a passion he intended to pursue further in life.

Meitar shared the couple’s dream of settling the land of Israel and building a home there, a dream that Yedidya was deeply passionate about. Even in the face of war, Yedidya’s joy and pride in serving his country were evident, embodying his belief in the importance of their mission.

First Name

Yedidya

Last Name

eliyahu

Age

25

Fell On

November 3 2023

Army Unit

Combat engineering corps

Army Rank

sergeant first class (res)

יהי זכרו ברוך

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