Terror victim's wife spars with state over characterization of husband's death

Decision will impact what is written on Tuvia Yanai Weissman's gravestone's epitaph.

IDF Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weissman (R), his wife, and baby (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weissman (R), his wife, and baby
Yael Weissman is locked in a bureaucratic battle following the murder of her husband, St.-Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weissman.
Her 21-year-old husband was killed while trying to stop two teenage terrorists at a Rami Levy supermarket in Sha’ar Binyamin in the West Bank on February 18.
She wants her husband to be recognized as a soldier who died in action, while the Defense Ministry wants her to sign that he was victim of a terrorist attack. Whatever is agreed upon would be written on his gravestone’s epitaph.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Weissman said the issue first came to light when the Defense Ministry told her that the IDF had carried out an investigation into her husband’s death and came to the conclusion that he was killed in a terrorist attack.
She refuted this and thus ensued what she said was a series of transfers between officials who each passed the responsibility onto someone else.
To her shock, however, Weissman was told by the IDF shortly before speaking with the Post, that no such investigation into her husband’s death had taken place, as the ministry claimed. She was told that it was not the IDF’s responsibility to do so regarding this particular incident.
“We all saw what happened and we all heard what happened,” she said. “There is no doubt here that he died in a type of battle against the terrorists.”
The only reason she could think of for why the authorities won’t say that he died in action is because the terrorists were only 14-year-olds using knives rather than firearms.
According to Weissman, what her husband did was even more noteworthy than being killed in action, “because he wasn’t even in uniform nor did he have a weapon.”
“Despite all that, he felt that he was on duty and ran to do what he felt needed to be done, even if he had to pay for it with his life,” she said.
Authorities are trying to stall to the last minute, she mused, so she would be forced to agree with their conclusions, since Weissman said it would be unpleasant for her husband’s grave to still be without a tombstone 30 days after his death.
“At this moment, in this particular situation, I feel embarrassed by the system.
Simply embarrassed that in my state, I need to stand up and fight for something that is so clearly evident,” she concluded.
A spokeswoman from the Defense Ministry clarified to the Post that the difference in statuses have no bearing whatsoever regarding compensation and noted that “all of Israel’s fallen soldiers are treated equally, irrespective of the circumstances.”