'My children were left with no father, and I lost the love of my life'

Hundreds of family members, friends and fellow students attended Roni Yihye's funeral on Thursday.

Yechiya 88 (photo credit: )
Yechiya 88
(photo credit: )
Hundreds of family members, friends and fellow students attended Roni Yihye's funeral on Thursday in Moshav Bit'ha near Ofakim. Yihye was killed on Wednesday when a Kassam rocket hit the parking lot at Sapir College in the Negev. Yihye, 47, a father of four and a student at Sapir College, was close to completing his studies and receiving his bachelor's degree in logistics. A few years ago, Yihye underwent a kidney transplant and decided to change directions; he chose to pursue a college degree. His wife, Esther, struggled to express her sorrow on Thursday. "What can I say? I am just another widow who lost her husband too early. My children were left with no father and I lost the love of my life, my soul," she mourned. Education Minister Yuli Tamir eulogized Yihye. "This is a shocking loss of a person who almost fulfilled his dream to receive a college degree and to start a whole new life. And it was not easy: He started at the preparatory program for the degree. His friends say he was a gentle person who pursed knowledge and good deeds. "I hope Roni's children will see in their father's way of life his last will and testament, and they will know that anything is possible if you set your mind to it," Tamir said. Prof. Zeev Tzahor, president of Sapir College, recalled how Yihye was so proud when his efforts paid off and he passed his exams. "Paradoxically, Roni was a well-known student in our college because of his shining modesty. The head of the logistics department called me last night from abroad and cried when he heard Roni was dead," Tzahor said. Avner Mori, head of the Merhavim Local Council, spoke at the funeral as well. "The mind refuses to perceive and the heart refuses to separate from you," he said. "They say God takes the finest people. Roni, you were a grace to all the people that surrounded you; quietly, you managed to live a life of love, kindness and peace, and these attributes will be your last will and testament to us all." Salma Yihye, Roni's mother, could not accept her son's terrible fate. "I told him not to study there because of the Kassams, but he went anyway and now he is not here to see his children grow up. And the government does nothing, as always," she said.