Those we have lost

Staff Sgt. Yaron ‘Noni’ Shay, 21: ‘A new startup for every fallen hero’

Killed in action in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom on the southern Gaza strip border, October 7

Yaron Oree Shay in an undated photo from his father Izhar Shay (used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law).
Yaron Oree Shay in an undated photo from his father Izhar Shay (used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law).

Staff Sgt. Yaron Oree Shay, 21, a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces’ Nahal Brigade, was killed on October 7 during fierce clashes with Hamas terrorists in the Kibbutz Kerem Shalom area near the border with the Gaza Strip.

Former Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay recounted that his beloved son’s heroic actions protected hundreds of people who owe their lives to his unit’s young brave soldiers.

“He was killed while protecting civilians, fighting hundreds of Hamas terrorists, not letting them reach the civilians and female soldiers who were under his unit’s watch,” said Shay.

“The price this special unit paid was very painful, and we are still praying for some critically wounded soldiers, but the mission was accomplished – Kerem Shalom was not conquered by the enemy, they suffered minimal casualties, and all female soldiers were saved without any physical injury,” said Shay.

Trying to sum up the lifetime experience of 21 years with the “perfect beloved child,” whom he called Noni, Shay told a personal experience they shared.

“Noni was tough and cynical, with humor and wit… an athlete, but he was also a very talented piano player,” Shay said. “He played piano for many years, but only for himself… he never agreed to play in front of an audience… he loved playing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.”

“We would play this piece together sometimes,” said his father.

In a passionate plea, Shay, a high-tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist who briefly served as Science Minister in 2020, on Thursday called on fellow tech investors and founders to join his initiative to commit to founding a new startup for each of the heroes who gave their lives to protect the country, and for each murdered baby.

“Over the next 12 months, for every fallen soldier, for every murdered civilian, let’s put together a new innovative startup that will build a product or service that will serve thousands of companies and/or millions of people around the world,” he said.

“Let’s put together a moral response to this evil attack on humanity by putting the foundations for thousands of new innovative businesses that will make this world better in so many ways,” said Shay.

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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