IDF Sergeant Benyamin Yona, age 19, was killed in battle this week as he rushed to rescue Israeli civilians under the brutal attack of Hamas terrorists. Students and faculty alike at his Boys Town Jerusalem alma mater had long adored Benyamin for his endless generosity and lovable soul – which triumphed to the very last minute of his life.
Benyamin faced many challenges throughout his childhood
From childhood, Benyamin faced the trauma of his mother’s serious illness necessitating frequent hospitalizations over nearly a decade. His father’s debilitating stroke several years ago plunged the family into greater poverty. From high school, Benyamin took on odd jobs to help support the family and eventually to cover the rent payments. Yet despite the hardships he faced, he maintained a childlike innocence and a constant, contagious optimism that touched all.
Benyamin had a big heart
“Benyamin climbed straight into my heart at age 13 when he first enrolled in Boys Town Jerusalem,” recalls Hadas Knopf, then a social worker at the school. “He faced tough challenges in his life, but had a big heart for all and a smile that shined from within.” Hadas noted Benyamin’s early passion to learn to drive, and his dream to become a driver in the Israeli Army.
Benyamin Yona fought to serve in the IDF
When Benyamin developed a mild heart condition, the IDF exempted him from service – which he rigorously fought to overturn. When his health improved, he proudly achieved his dream to serve as a heavy equipment driver in an Iron Dome mobile air defense installation.
Benyamin Yona will be remembered as a true hero
“You were given an important mission and immediately went to protect civilians under fire,” eulogized an IDF officer representing Benyamin’s unit. “We can never thank you for what you did. You are a true hero.”
Hadas Knopf added softly, “No one will ever forget Benyamin’s beautiful soul.”
May Benyamin Gavriel Yona be remembered eternally for his generosity, his passion for life, and his consideration for others. May his bravery be a beacon for generations to come.