Yanai, a soldier in the Nahal Brigade, was on a week’s vacation when he went out to do Shabbat shopping with his wife Yael and their baby girl, Neta.
Suddenly they heard screams from the other side of the supermarket. Yanai didn’t think twice. He ran in the direction of the shouts. He rushed at the terrorist who was in the midst of stabbing someone. Barehanded, Yanai succeeded in knocking down the terrorist and stopping the attack. But a second terrorist was waiting behind him, and charged in Yanai’s direction. Yanai succeeded in pushing him off but was wounded by the terrorist’s knife, and later died from his wounds.
Yanai left behind his parents, three brothers, his wife Yael and four-month-old daughter Neta.
Yael and the family are interested in establishing a “Warm House” for soldiers in their settlement of Maale Michmas, where both Yanai and Yael grew up and lived after they were married. In this way, their little daughter Neta, together with all the soldiers who visit, will be able to learn of Yanai’s heroism, and how he gave his life to save others.
Here is a letter that Yael wrote asking for support to help her build the project:
A letter from Yael
Everyone who knew our Yanai knows that one of his main traits was that whenever there was a need for someone to help, he was always there.
We all know that when Yanai was around, everything would go perfectly.
When Yanai would come home from the army and take off his uniform, he would become like a father for all the soldiers in the settlement. For the soldiers that come weekly to protect our community, Yanai was there to take care of them. He would take care of their needs, from cleaning, food, extra snacks and strengthening their moral.
Even the day that he was killed, on the way into the supermarket, he made sure to stop by the soldiers outside and ask if everything was o.k. with them, and to thank them for protecting us, even though just a few days before he was doing the same thing they were.
We want to commemorate Yanai’s memory in many ways, but perhaps the most important character trait that everyone agrees on would reflect the way he gave to others and especially gave to our soldiers, who he used to take care for so much.
We came up with the idea of building in Michmas, the community that Yanai grew up in and where we lived after our wedding, a soldier’s “Warm House” – a spot that would cater to all the soldiers that pass through, are on security duty in the area, or the Border Patrol soldiers who await transportation here to their nearby base. This would be a place they will always find something nice to eat and a cold or hot drink.
The advantage of this project is that it’s not a “one-timer”. It will be ongoing, continuously providing food drinks and shelter to the soldiers. Everyone who knew Yanai knew that he never stopped for a moment and was always working hard to help others. It will be a project that will involve the community’s members to bring food, cakes, and drinks, etc.
I also believe that the big advantage of this project is that it will live and breathe. Everyone who was lucky enough to know Yanai knows that he never stopped for a moment, was always busy doing something, and always paid attention to the smallest details.
I have attached a photo of Yanai’s troop preparing a meal. The photo shows how Yanai directed the work so that everything would come out perfectly.
Besides the material side, the “giving” part the Warm House, the soldiers will also learn about who Yanai was. And even though Yanai is not here, they are being taken care of as if at his own behest.
I know and believe that if we were to ask Yanai today what we can do in his memory, this would be the project that he would choose.
The cost of the project is $35,000. I am turning to anyone who wants to take part in this project to donate now and become partners with me in my dream to commemorate Yanai.
On July 19, 2016, there will be a Military Ceremony where Yanai will get the Medal of Honor for his bravery by risking his life to save others.
I know that the way Yanai fell, reflects the way Yanai lived, “giving to another no matter the cost.“
The Binyamin Fund/ The Heart of Israel checks each project before placing them on the website, supervises them, ensures that the project is completed and that the money raised is used only for the purpose it was raised for.