Happy news for bereaved father of IDF soldier killed in combat

“I haven’t smiled like this in three years,” Baruch Ben Yigal, whose only son was killed during an operation in a PA-controlled enclave, told Channel 12 News.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A bereaved father whose only child was killed in combat recently announced an exciting development: he is expecting a new baby and will be a father once again, at the age of 55.

Baruch Ben Yigal of Ramat Gan made headlines in 2020 after his son, Amit, was killed during a military operation in a Palestinian Authority-controlled enclave in Judea and Samaria.

Ben Yigal and his wife divorced when his son was a year old. While his ex-wife remarried and had four daughters with her new husband, Ben Yigal remained single and did not have any more children.

“Amit was my only child. Therefore, he was given the option not to enlist into a combat unit,” Ben Yigal wrote on an IDF memorial page for his son.

“I hoped he would choose not to, yet when he went on his school trip to Poland and visited the camps, he called me and said something I will never forget: ‘Dad, you’re the son of a Holocaust survivor. Your dad didn’t have an army to protect him. Today, now that our people have a country, I want to do everything I can to protect it at all costs. I want to enlist into the Golani Brigade.’”

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The killing of his son devastated Ben Yigal, and he spoke openly to Hebrew language media about his grief.

“Amit was my entire life,” Ben Yigal said, while showing a reporter from Kan News how he had transformed his son’s bedroom into a memorial, replete with mementos and portraits on display, along with Amit’s army uniform.

In May 2021, about a year after his son’s death, Ben Yigal told Ynet that he was interested in fathering another child, and urged women who were interested to get in contact with him.

To his surprise, he was immediately bombarded with messages from “hundreds of women” on Facebook. Ben Yigal told Ynet that he met in person with countless women, but that none of them seemed to be a good fit for him romantically.

But it was a Facebook message from a 30-year-old divorcee with two young children that proved to be the right match for Ben Yigal.

Daniela Afriat, from Beit Shemesh, sent a message to Ben Yigal, telling him that she shared in his grief and admired his strength in continuing with his life, despite his enormous loss.

Ben Yigal asked Afriat to meet for coffee, which turned into a four hour date. Five months later, Afriat was pregnant with Ben Yigal’s child, and the couple is expecting a boy.

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TV news cameras captured the moment that Ben Yigal announced to his extended family that he will be a father once again. Members of the family celebrated, with many crying tears of joy.

“I haven’t smiled like this in three years,” Ben Yigal told Channel 12 News.

“The new child will live with us, alongside the great loss of his big brother. He does not replace [Amit] in any way, in any way. He will receive the full love, appreciation and attention that Amit received,” he said.

“Amit received 100% love, and this [new baby] will receive 100% love.”