The Israel Defense Forces soldier killed during this week’s counter-terror operation in Jenin was laid to rest on Wednesday at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery with thousands in attendance.
Sgt. First Class David Yehuda Yitzhak from the Egoz commando unit was shot and critically wounded on Tuesday evening, as Israeli forces began to withdraw from Jenin. The 23-year-old resident of the Beit El settlement was treated at the scene before being taken to a hospital in Israel where he was declared dead.
The IDF said it was investigating if the non-commissioned officer was hit by friendly fire or by Palestinian gunmen.
Yitzhak was the only Israeli killed in the two-day operation, during which at least 12 Palestinians were killed; Israel said all of them were combatants.
Speaking at his funeral, Yitzhak’s father Moshe said his son “saw everyone’s trouble as if it was [his] own.”
“I see the team of comrades who fought with you who have become your brothers, and I want to tell you that today you have also become a part of the family in every house in Israel.
The grieving father recalled how he had always wanted to boast to his friends about the various awards and recognitions his son had received from the army but that Yitzhak would always put away the honorary pins and decorations he received during his furloughs, in order not to brag or make anyone uncomfortable.
“Grandpa Azriel said that we have to accept God’s judgment with love, so thank you God for giving us David for 23 years,” said a weeping Moshe Yitzhak.
The commander of the Egoz unit, whose name is barred from publication by the military censor, also eulogized Yitzhak, calling him “a motivated warrior who played an important role in the defense of Israel.”
One of Yitzhak’s neighbors in Beit El shared at the funeral how the fallen soldier had volunteered for years with his son who has special needs. Yitzhak continued meeting with him even after he joined the army and took care of the boy during a recent Yom Kippur to allow for his family to have an easier time fasting.
“You were a warrior and an angel — a man with a heart of gold,” said the unit commander. “You always strived to be moral and to do the right thing because of the values you received at home.”
In a separate eulogy issued by his office, President Isaac Herzog expressed his condolences to Yitzhak, his family and his community in Beit El. “We will continue to fight terrorism with determination and come to terms with those who seek our harm,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, Hebrew media published what appeared to be a journal entry scripted by Yitzhak in which he stressed the importance of “not getting bogged down by nonsense and superficial pleasures. Just be good, without making a big deal about it.”