It’s a uniquely Israeli fairy godmother tale.
Yarona and Liron Weinberg got married on Thursday, May 6.
By Tuesday night, rockets were flying and they were sitting in a sealed room with their families during one of their post-wedding celebration dinners. The newlywed couple realized they needed to return to their army units because of the escalating situation.
Yarona, 22, is an officer in the IDF Spokespersons Unit while Liron, 23, is an officer in a paratroopers unit.
“Our officers told us we didn’t have to come back right then, but it was important for us to be there,” said Yarona. “I couldn’t see all those WhatsApps coming in from my staff and not be a part of it.”
There was just one catch. They had reservations for a three-day honeymoon at a tzimmer, a rural bed-and-breakfast, up north, a long-awaited vacation for both.
“We had really waited for this vacation,” said Weinberg.
In fact, it had taken a long time before they could find a free week for the wedding.
The two grew up in the same town, had dated for six years, gotten engaged during the pandemic, and often have different vacation times from the army, sometimes enduring long separations.
But as Weinberg called the tzimmer to ask if they could postpone or get their money back, she had another idea, and called Liron, who was in another room.
“I said, ‘let’s find someone else who can enjoy this,'” said Weinberg.
It was just one of those moments, said Weinberg. She was thinking about how much love and attention they had received during their wedding, as well as the ability to simply focus on themselves.
They put up one of their wedding photos on Instagram, with a brief description of themselves, their roles as army officers, and their desire to give away their honeymoon to another recently married couple from the south, where the rocket bombardment has been heavy and constant. They tagged the tzimmer’s Instagram profile along with Yarona’s cellphone number at the bottom.
“Hi, we’re a couple, officers who married a few days ago. Due to the situation, we’re going back to the army — Liron to his staff in paratroopers and me to my job in the Spokesperson’s Unit.”
“We were supposed to celebrate our honeymoon in ‘Ahuzat Dorita,’ up north, this Thursday-Friday.”
“We’re looking for a couple from the south, who’d like to take our place for a dream vacation in one of the most magical places in the country (on us, of course!)”
The response was immediate.
“You can’t imagine the stories we heard,” said Yarona. “People called me just to say mazal tov and to thank us for what we were offering. One person sent me NIS 500 on [payment app] bit for a wedding gift.”
Yarona first refused that gift, then agreed to use the money to buy treats at the supermarket for the soldiers under her command.
People told her about their sisters and brothers, their sons and daughters. One woman from the south shared that her daughter had gotten married on Sunday, and then spent the night sleeping on the floor of a bomb shelter.
In the end, the tzimmer owners refunded the money, and the newly married Weinbergs will use the money to send a couple away once they can find a tzimmer with available space and a newlywed couple who can get away for one night.
Inns and bed-and-breakfasts are currently at full occupancy up north, far from the rockets and tensions at Israel’s center and southern regions.
“There’s a lot of couples interested, but nobody knows exactly what will be next week, so it’s gotten a little complicated,” said Yarona, who is currently on her way down to Gaza in her role in the IDF spokesperson’s unit. Her husband, Liron, is still waiting to hear where his unit will be sent. “But the money is waiting for this use.”