IDF Soldier orphaned in terror attack gets certificate of excellence

Seventeen years after being seriously injured by Palestinian terrorists, Y. is awarded by IDF Southern Command for his intelligence work.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

When he was three years old, Y. was seriously injured by Palestinian terrorists who ambushed his family’s car and murdered his parents in the shooting. On Wednesday, 17 years later, he is receiving a certificate of excellence for his intelligence work in the army from IDF Southern Commander Gen. Herzi Halevy.

Since his work is classified, his family does not even know for what exactly he is being honored, but it makes no difference in terms of the pride which his maternal grandmother who raised him and his younger brother feel.

When she got the invitation to the ceremony, “I patted myself on the shoulder,” the grandmother told Ynet, “and I told myself – we won. He’s a shy child, modest and humble, and it’s no coincidence that he’s in intelligence. His commander also said that he is very talented and has a future in the IDF.”

A group linked to the Fatah movement of then-Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat took credit for the terror attack that took Y.’s young parents’ lives on a Samarian road and left the small child hospitalized. The ambush took place during a 24-hour period in August 2002 in which nine Israelis were killed in a suicide bombing on a bus in the northern part of the country, and two others died in a shooting at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, with almost 70 people wounded altogether.

The grandmother said she left her job the day after the attack and became a full-time mother again. It had not been easy to help her grandsons deal with the loss of their parents, she recalled.

“For five years, I slept next to [Y.]. We went through a difficult period back then,” she said. “[But] we are full partners with the father’s parents in raising the grandsons and have been by their side all these years…. Because of the bond between the grandparents, they are healthy.”

Dedicated IDF service seems to run deep in Y.’s family. His paternal grandfather received the Chief of Staff Certificate of Excellence some ten years ago for completing 45 consecutive years of reserve duty.