(December 14, 2018 / JNS) Corporal Yosef Cohen and Sergeant Yuval Mor Yosef were laid to rest in separate funerals on Thursday and Friday, after being murdered in a shooting attack at the Givat Asaf Junction between Ofra and Beit El on Thursday.
The pair were shot by a Palestinian who drove up to a group of soldiers, exited his car, and shot them before driving off, abandoning the vehicle and then fleeing on foot. A female civilian was also injured, and is in moderate condition. An IDF rifle was reportedly stolen during the attack.
“You were pure gold, just completely pure gold,” Cohen’s stepfather, Rabbi Eliyahu Meirav said at the funeral. “Yosef, sweet boy, good boy – I never believed this moment would come. But we all believe that God gives, and God takes away. All the years I raised you, wonderful boy, holy, pure. You were full of love and generosity, all soul.
“We are very strong, the people of Israel are very strong, we have undergone holocausts, pogroms and troubles, our history is full of blood, and where are we today? Beyond all disputes we are one people and love will prevail,” Rabbi Meirav said.
Cohen was buried at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem. Mor Yosef was buried in Ashkelon at a funeral with an estimated 2,000 attendees.
The commander of the Kfir Brigade, Col. Zion Ratzon, who eulogized the fallen soldier at his funeral, said Mor Yosef had been an avid basketball player, but gave up on his dreams to become a combat fighter in the IDF. “Your friends told me about a special person, who viewed helping others as a top priority,” Ratzon said. “You were a modest and quiet person, with a good heart. Loved by all your friends. Your premature departure has left a huge gap in our hearts, a gap that we can never mend.”
Mor Yosef was reportedly given leave to return home on Thursday morning, but volunteered to switch places with someone else to enable him to go home.
“Yovel, our dear soldier, you fell in the defense of our country, our families, your friends,” said Mor Yosef’s cousin, Uri Slav. “Your extensive knowledge of Torah and musical tunes always surprised me.”
“In family events, I saw all the kids looking at you with adoration, including my daughter,” said Slav. “You were always with a big smile. You will be forever missed by all of us. Rest in peace, I love you.”
Another soldier, Netanel Ilan ben Sheina Tzipporah, was listed in very serious condition on Friday morning, after being wounded in the attack which killed Cohen and Mor Yosef. The soldier suffered gunshot wounds to the head, and underwent complex surgery at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. According to doctors, he is sedated and on a respirator in intensive care fighting for his life.
Another soldier was seriously injured Friday morning when a Palestinian man infiltrated an IDF security point near Beit El. The soldier and the terrorist engaged in hand to hand combat, and the Palestinian bashed the soldier in the head with a rock before fleeing.
“In the past few days a Hamas terror group cell managed to hurt us and exact from us a heavy price,” IDF Central Command chief Major General Nadav Padan said. “We will hunt them and settle the score with this [terror] cell,” he said.
“There will no hiding place for the attackers in all of Judea and Samaria,” Padan said. “The IDF will continue to hunt them. Following the attack we are increasing forces, protecting the roads and towns, and expanding efforts to thwart terror.”