A Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony was held on Monday night at the Givat Asaf junction, the site of a terror attack two years ago that killed Staff Sgt. Yuval Mor-Yosef, 20, from Ashkelon, and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, 19, from Beit Shemesh.

A third soldier, Netanel Felber, was shot and seriously injured, and is undergoing rehabilitation. The soldiers were all members of the Netzach Yehuda Battalion (Nahal Haredi).

“Being a hero isn’t just about being a fighter who runs into battle. It’s also being able to see your friend—another soldier—who has no place to sleep or make his bed. That was Yuval. Yuval was a hero,” said his father, Mordechai Mor-Yosef.

Both he and Cohen’s stepfather, Rabbi Eliyahu Meirav, lit the candles with Netzach Yehuda commander Lt. Gen. Mati Shevah and members of the Israel Defense Forces’ top brass.

Among them were Brig. Gen. Amir Vadmani; Brig. Gen. Moshe Zin, deputy director general and head of civilian security in the Ministry of Defense; Chief Reserve Officer and Brig. Gen. in the Reserves Ari Singer; Udi Dror, head of recruitment, division of civilian security of the Ministry of Defense; Brig. Gen. Eran Oliel, commander of the Kfir Brigade; and Brig. Gen. Benjamin Yonatan Steinberg.

Also in attendance were Netzach Yehuda Association founders Rabbi Yitzhak Bar-Haim and Rabbi David Fuks, who were joined by businessman and philanthropist David Hager, a key supporter of recruiting haredi Jews into the IDF, and Yossi Levi, Netzach Yehuda Association’s CEO.

Bereaved fathers Mordechai Mor-Yosef and Rabbi Eliyahu Meirav lit the Hanukkah candles at the two-year memorial for fallen soldiers Staff Sgt. Yuval Mor-Yosef and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, December 2020. Credit: Netzach Yehuda.

A memorial to the fallen was erected last year at the site of the shooting, one of the worst attacks on IDF soldiers in recent years.

Zinn said “the history of the Jewish people is filled with war, and the holiday of Hanukkah represents a unique war, won bravely and heroically by the few over the many. Netzach Yehuda Battalion: You are the Maccabees of this generation. You have come to defend this land, and you deserve much praise for your courage in the face of many challenges.”

In speaking to the families after the event, Vadmani said that “Hanukkah is a holiday of joy, but we also share in mourning the fall of the best of our boys, Yovell Mor-Yosef and Yosef Cohen, who fell in heroism and sacrifice.”

Turning to the families, Uliel spoke in appreciation of them year-round: “Hanukkah symbolizes our unity as a people, and you are the ones who sacrifice for the people of Israel.”

Rabbi Bar-Haim of the Netzach Yehuda Association, which accompanies soldiers throughout their military service in the Israel Defense Forces. Credit: Netzach Yehuda.
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