Still Fighting: My Son, Yehuda Yitzchak

By David Hayisre’eli
David Hayisre’eli tells the story of his son, who was wounded in Gaza a year ago and ‘strengthens all of us with his spiritual prowess.’

Almost a year has passed since my son, Yehuda Yitzchak Hayisre’eli, was wounded in Operation Protective Edge. Yehuda Yitzchak cannot speak yet, so I thought that I could speak for him.

Two years and eight months ago, Yehuda Yitzchak and his family began walking down a new path, after he enlisted to the IDF. Before that, he had studied Torah at the Maaleh Eliyahu yeshiva in Tel Aviv – the Torah of the Land of Israel, which illuminates life in our country and sanctifies him.

As he studied Torah and taught it, he established a home and married Rivki. Later on, Yehuda Yitzchak and Rivki decided that he would enlist in a full combat track, because some people have to live life in an abnormal way so that most of the nation can live normally.

Yehuda Yitzhak did not give up and for the sake of the Nation of Israel, he volunteered to the elite Rimon unit in the Givati Brigade. When he was in basic training, his first daughter, Tzruya, was born. When he came home on Sabbaths, he would immediately take upon himself to take care of the child and wash the home for Shabbat. On Shabbat morning, he prayed in the earliest minyan and studied Torah with a companion at his yeshiva’s study hall.

Operation Protective Edge caught Yehuda Yitzchak in the period of preparatory training for the Officers’ Course. He begged his commanders to let him join his comrades who were fighting in Gaza, but to no avail. This was very hard for him to bear. When the preparatory training ended, and he went on leave before Officers’ Course, his commanders relented. Instead of enjoying rest and relaxation with his wife and daughter, Yehuda Yitchak joined the fighting in Gaza.

At the entry into Rafiah, following the abduction of Hadar Goldin hy”d, Yehuda Yitzchak told his comrades: “Now we forget our home and family – and we are for the Nation of Israel.” This sums up Yehuda Yitzchak’s entire path.

He went on a mission, to fight for his nation, and he is still at the height of that mission. He was wounded by a large shell that penetrated his brain, and has undergone a series of eight head operations, and we pray to God that they will be enough. A short time after his injury, his son, Erez Yechezkel, was born. We know that the entire nation is behind him in prayers and support.

Yehuda Yitzchak strengthens all of us with his spiritual prowess. It is true that he has a long and complex road of rehabilitation ahead, but his spirit is strong. He signals ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to us with his left hand. There is one question that he consistently answers the same way. When we ask him if something can break him, he always answers, “No.” When we ask, “Do you want people to pray for your recovery?”, Yehuda Yitzchak replies, “Yes.”

A warrior like Yehuda Yitzchak Ben Iris who went to war for his nation is worthy of having his nation pray for his complete recovery.

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