By Eddie Dvir
Exactly a year has passed since Yanai “Tuvia” Weissman. HY”D was torn away from his young wife and 4 month-old daughter
His widow and childhood sweetheart, Yael , posted the following post to her Facebook page with only one word.
A year ago, 21-year-old shopper Yanai Weissman, his wife Yael and 4 month-old daughter Netta, were shopping at the Rami Levi Supermarket.
Memorial Picture with information of Yanai Weissman’s memorial service.
Yanai was on a week-long leave from the army. The family had gone to the supermarket in order to prepare for Shabbat and for his return to the army the next day. As they were shopping, Yanai heard a woman scream and at that moment he gave his wife a look and she looked back at him.
She would later say that they both knew what the scream meant and that she instinctively knew, even though he didn’t say anything, that he was about to jump into action and try and stop the terror attack. Although he was unarmed at the time, he bravely ran in search of the terrorist. He saw a man in a white shirt covered in blood running away from the terrorist and lunged at the terrorist who later said he was running after the man to “finish off the job.” You can witness Yanai’s heroics (25 second mark) in this newly released footage that his widow publicized.
Yanai’s heroics caught on tape.
Unfortunately Yanai was not aware of a second terrorist and as he lunged for the terrorist who had stabbed the man in the white shirt, he was stabbed in the back by a second cowardly attacker. The stab would prove to be fatal but he is credited with saving at least two people, the man in the white shirt who was being chased by one terrorist and a female who was about to be stabbed by the second terrorist Both terrorists were shot and wounded at the scene.
Avi Avital, the shopper who said he owed his life to Yanai Weissman for interrupting the attack.
Yanai died a hero by sacrificing himself for others. He left his wife, Yael, a 4-month-old daughter, Netta, his parents Orli and Dana, and four brothers.
Yanai was also an American citizen. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner condemned the attack, and released the following statement.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the attack that took place yesterday in the West Bank that resulted in the death of US citizen Yanai Tuvia Weisman,” said the statement from Toner.
“There is no justification for terrorism,” the statement said. “This horrific incident again underscores the need for all sides to reject violence, and urgently take steps to restore calm, reduce tensions, and bring an immediate end to the violence.”
Yanai, a combat soldier with the Nahal brigade, was laid to rest at the Har Herzl Military Cemetery.
At his funeral, his widow Yael said that as soon as they heard a stabbing had taken place, Yanai ran to stop the terrorist. “I was not able to stop you and I am not sorry. If you had not raced there [to help], you would not be the Yanai that I know, the one I fell in love with,” she said.
“I waited for you to return to me and Netta, I waited for you to hug us and say that everything was fine and that you had succeeding in stopping the terrorists. We waited a long time and you did not return.”
She promised that his infant daughter would know all about him. “Thank you for the best present you could have given me, our daughter Netta. I couldn’t ask for something more perfect. I promise that Netta will know who you were and how much you loved her. We will never part from you. You will always be with me. Even if I am not with you physically, we will not be apart,” she said.
One week after his funeral, his wife Yael talked to the media about her relationship with her husband, “He was my best friend since the ninth grade. We spend our youth together and grew up together. He always put others before him, he was generous through and through… right from the start, even from such a young age.”
The bereaved widow also noted that “The country was always so important to him, he always knew he was meant to work in security and to help others.”
An Israeli did a project on Yanai. The words read “His death shows what a brave man he was. His whole life he did for others, he always cared for welfare of others before his own welfare”
Yael talked about her future with the couple’s four-month-old baby daughter, Neta, saying, “Even though I am a widow, I am first and foremost a mother.”
“It is because of Neta that I have the strength to wake up in the morning and get out of bed and continue. If it wasn’t for her, I would not have the power like I do now,” said Yael.
“Yanai would not want this to break us,” said Yael. “He always said that we will continue with our routine – if we go shopping, we go together. We go to town, we go together. We cannot lock ourselves in our homes, that’s not a life worth living.”
Yael said that though she is not allowed to speak about army regulations, that Yanai was very frustrated that he had to go on regular leave without his weapon.
Watch the heart-wrenching interview here.
“He told me he did not feel complete without a weapon every time he left the house. I think that if a soldier requests to take his weapon with him on leave he should at least be allowed to protect himself and others. After all, soldiers protect us.”
“Yanai was there to protect us, he defended us with himself, with his body,” concluded Yael.
At a recent commemoration ceremony, his young widow, Yael, was awarded a medal of bravery ( צלש ) that was posthumously awarded to her husband.
Yanai’s uniform with the צלש medal.
But more exciting than that for Yanai’s widow, right after the ceremony, she was surprised by a thrilling encounter , of four couples, who all named their babies after the hero, Yanai.
Tears were streaming down everyone’s faces after this exciting encounter between Yael, the widow of the late Yanai Weisman H”YD , and the 4 babies.
Yael Weisman and her daughter meet the four babies named after her husband Yanai. Photo Credit: Yediot Acharonot
“It’s very exciting to see them, they are really sweet,” said Yael as she hugged all the parents and the babies named after her husband. Talia Fishel, from Maale Adumim said she decided to call her son Yanai. after she heard about his heroic act, “His personal sacrifice was very heroic, he was not commanded on this mission by his commander in the army, but instead it was a command from his heart and for the love and safety of his people. launched operation at the moment he left his wife and daughter to go and help. ” Her husband Bentzion added, “This is an unusual sacrifice, to storm like that into danger with bare hands..for us, it was the least we could do to name our baby after this hero.”
As OS News previous reported, for Shani Shmerler it was not the first time she had met Yael Weisman, though she did not know Yael before the tragedy, she decided to contact her.
“I called her just a few hours before our son’s bris and I informed her that we were naming our baby, Yanai, after her husband. She was very excited and asked if it’s okay for her to come to the bris.
Yael meeting Yanai Shmerler at his bris.
Sure enough, a couple of hours later she was standing there in the simcha hall… Our son was born on Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) so we wanted to name him after someone heroic in Israel. When we heard about Yanai, we just knew that this would be the name and it made it all the more special that his widow came to the bris”
The Hellman’s from Haifa, said “What really amazed us with Yanai is that he immediately ran to do the right thing and we think it’s also something we need to do in our lives, to always strive to do the right thing.” And the proud parents Amichai and Shira Evyatar from Jerusalem said “we called him Yanai, not so much just to be named after him, but to be a guiding light for him, so that he will ‘Answer the call’ and be inspired to have his features and his heroism”
The ceremony held was attended by members and officers of the Nahal brigade (Gdud 50) which Weisman belonged to. They spoke about his unique personality. “Everyone knew that they could count on Yanai when they had problems. He was the kind of like a dad to the other soldiers, he was always a responsible adult figure” said Lt. Guy Rosenblatt, Yanai’s platoon commander.
Yanai and Yael were childhood sweethearts, though they were married for just over a year, Yael said she felt like she was a newlywed. In part because every day with Yanai was new and unexpected and also since Yanai was in officers school, she barely got to see him.. “only on the weekends”…
Netta will not have any memories of her father but they are preserved in her mother’s stories about her father and in pictures and videos.
Nowadays you can catch Yael and Netta volunteering to help other soldiers.
Recently, Yael went to Italy to ski downhill. She sent out this photo with the caption “Fulfilling a dream.. which isn’t mine”. She did it for her true love, Yanai Weissman HY”D.
May his memory be for a blessing.