Hillel Menachem Yaniv and Yagel Ya’acov Yaniv, the two brothers from the Har Bracha settlement in Samaria who were murdered in a terrorist shooting attack in Huwara on Sunday, were laid to rest at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery on Monday afternoon.
Hillel was studying in the Kiryat Shmona hesder pre-military yeshiva and recently completed his service in the Navy. Yagel was studying in the Givat Olga hesder yeshiva and had helped establish a branch of the yeshiva in Tirat Carmel. He was set to start the recruitment process for combat service in the IDF soon.
The two men were on their way to their yeshivas when a Palestinian terrorist rammed into their car in Huwara and fired at least 12 bullets at them from point blank, murdering them. Hillel was 22; Yagel was to turn 20 in two weeks.
The funeral procession departed from Har Bracha on Monday, as dozens lined the highway with Israeli flags. Before departing from Har Bracha, the murdered brothers’ parents Esti and Rabbi Shalom Yaniv stated: “We will gather strength and build up the Land of Israel.”
“I sent my two children to the army. We did not use it as a political tool. We want unity. We must not harm the army,” Esti said.
"I sent my two children to the army. We did not use it as a political tool. We want unity. We must not harm the army," Esti said. “My eyes are full of tears. We have no comfort. Two pure lambs, 20 years old, have risen to God. Two eldest sons, friends, went out to learn Torah. Two beloved ones, my beloved sons who walked in the path of God: on these I weep.”
Shalom eulogized his sons, saying: “It is the way of a man who goes to learn to go higher and higher, and you both traveled to a place of Torah, and went up and were raised up and suddenly a fiery chariot with fiery horses separated between you. Hillel and Yagel, our beloved sons, return, return my beloved sons. A whole nation walks behind you and in your lives and deaths you were not separated.”
The brothers’ grandfather, Rabbi Shabtai Naumburg, eulogized the boys during the funeral, saying that “it’s known that the prior generations come to the wedding canopy (huppa) of a person. Today, as Hillel and Yagel rise to heaven, this is their wedding canopy; we did not merit to see their wedding canopy on Earth. The prior generations have come here. They give us strength.
“I said yesterday that these two saints were murdered for the sanctification of God’s name, and we must increase the sanctification of God’s name, increase Torah, increase the love of the Land of Israel, increase the settlement of the Land of Israel – and in this we will be consoled and will console others.”
Hillel and Yagel’s other grandfather, Rabbi Shmuel Yaniv, eulogized his grandchildren, saying: “It is a moment of holiness. I couldn’t come without the tallit [prayer shawl] that my grandson made for me. It’s a sacrifice of redemption. Today I have to bury two beloved grandsons. Grandma Miriam always said you should sing in the Temple. Now Hillel and Yagel sing in the Temple in heaven.”
Condolences and statements from public servants
“Jewish blood must cease to be forfeit.”Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said: “We are in an insane and unacceptable reality, a murder that is like an execution of two young men who were traveling on a major road in the State of Israel, this is a reality that no nation is ready to accept – and neither is ours.
“We love the soldiers of the IDF, the defense establishment and their role. The defense establishment is to deliver a blow, take care of security and restore deterrence. We demand that the government give the directive to the security system to do this. Jewish blood must cease to be forfeit.”
Lt.-Col. Roi Gardush, commander of the Naval squadron where Hillel served, eulogized him at the funeral on Monday afternoon, saying “I am struggling to speak about you in the past tense, as just last week we met at the port and I expressed my great appreciation for your contribution.”
Gardush noted that Hillel was going to receive the certificate of excellence from the commander of the Ashdod base at the excellence ceremony ahead of Independence Day. “There is where I should have met your family for the first time, to tell them how significant and important you were for the team and for the squadron.”
Rabbi Ariel Barkai, head of the hesder yeshiva in Kiryat Shmona where Hillel studied, noted that he had just returned last week ahead of his return to the yeshiva after his military service.
“He was so happy. He always stood out,” said Barkai. “He was called up to the Torah on Rosh Hodesh; how fitting it is that on Rosh Hodesh Adar – when Adar begins happiness increases – Hillel returned to yeshiva – Hillel who is always happy, always optimistic.
“Hillel and Yagel, you won’t return to the yeshiva anymore, but your spirit, your vitality – that it’s impossible to imagine that it has stopped – vitality like that cannot be cut off, and all the terrorists in the world cannot cut off the great lives you lived.”
Rabbi Ephraim Giami, head of the hesder yeshiva in Givat Olga, spoke about how Yagel was always ready to help both his friends in the yeshiva and residents in the community. “‘But I trust in Your faithfulness, my heart will exult (‘Yagel’ in Hebrew) in Your deliverance,’ from Yagel’s big heart. You were nourished by missions, you searched for big missions to do good for the people of Israel,” he said.
“How will we exult now? From you, from your strength, from the great strength that you granted us, that you taught us,” said Giami, noting that Yagel fought to continue learning Torah, even though he faced some difficulties in studying.
Har Bracha Rabbi Eliezer Melamed said that “the fate of the people of Israel since the time of Abraham our forefather is to carry the flag of morality and to bring blessings to the world. Therefore, in every generation, the most wicked people fight against us.
“We did not return to our country to evict Arabs from their land, rather to add blessings and good to the world,” he said. “The Arabs can also enjoy from this. But if they keep rising against us, we will fight them and win, all within the framework of the law by the hands of the IDF and the police. Anyone who wants to contribute more to security can volunteer for service in the IDF or police.”
During the funeral, a number of people at the site started chanting “revenge, revenge” as others shushed them.