St.-Sgt. Amit Yaori, 20, who was killed in battle in Gaza on Friday, was laid to rest in the capital’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery, accompanied by hundreds of people, his family, friends, army comrades and fellow Jerusalemites who came to escort him on his final journey.
Yaori was a member of the Combat Engineering Corps, which is looking for and destroying the terror tunnels that have been identified by the IDF as a serious threat to Israel’s security. He was killed in battle when he entered a terrorist-held structure.
The crowds gathered at the cemetery on Sunday where six other soldiers have been buried in the past few days, their graves still fresh and the wreaths laid upon them still covering the earth where they lie.
Those who came to eulogize Amit described him as an outstanding young man, intelligent, gifted and motivated, who would be forever missed by those who knew him and were close to him.
“We are left with a giant open wound which will never be healed,” said his aunt. “On Friday one part of our lives ended and another began, painful and hard. Now, all happiness will always be accompanied by sadness. It doesn’t matter where we’ll be, you’ll always be there,” she continued.
Amit’s sister, Noam, described him as “an amazing big brother” and “a figure worthy of admiration.”
“How can I say goodbye?...
Everyone has come to give their condolences, but I am not absorbing this news. I trusted you that you would not leave us so suddenly without any warning or preparation.”
Amit’s father, Shahar, recalled the last telephone calls and text messages he exchanged with his son, including a phone conversation two weeks ago when Amit said his parents could visit him if they wished.
Shahar noted that Amit had never requested a visit from his parents during his army service, nor a food package, and that he understood from his comment that he wanted them to visit him, which they did.
Eliran, a close friend of Amit, also took to the podium to give a eulogy, wondering how it was possible that just a month ago they had hiked along the coast.
The principal of the high school were Amit studied said that the fallen soldier had reflected the beauty of the Land of Israel and described Amit’s dedication to physical training in order to gain acceptance to an IDF combat unit.
One of Amit’s senior commanders said that he had fought courageously in Gaza and had been the first in the unit to enter the terrorist structures they were searching for.
In attendance at the funeral was also Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
“You, Amit, represented everything beautiful in the youth of Israel and Jerusalem,” Barkat said. “Everyone knew of your will and motivation to enlist to a combat unit and to contribute to the best of your abilities.”
“The Jewish people is united today and filled with recognition and thanks to you, Amit, and all your comrades and the fighters of the IDF and the security services. We salute you.”
Amit Yaori is survived by his parents, and his younger brother and sister.