Ron Vanunu gave up on joining the National Service in order to be recruited into the Golani Brigade, Zedek Deyeinu became a military guide, and Yotam Eliyahu wants to become a paratrooper. The siblings of Israel’s fallen soldiers speak about the lives of their loved ones who were killed in the battlefield.

Zedek Dayeinu

Zedek Dayeinu Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

These young people lost their siblings but not only that. They also lost their parents who were busy dealing with the grief, the joy of their youth, and suffered when the house changed from what it used to be in their childhood.

In the summer of 2014, Ron Vanunu became the oldest sibling after her brother Ben Vanunu, a fighter in the Golani Brigade, was killed in an explosion in Gaza: “There were days when I came home from school and the house was empty. It is not the same home. Sometimes, mother and father went out so that they would not have to deal with the dark house.”

“My thoughts are the most difficult,” she stated. “I try to hold the house together, to help and to please them, but I really live this reality and I am there every day. I won’t say that there aren’t days where I break down at night but I try to keep dealing with it. This is my life.”

Three months ago, Ron decided to give up on the idea of serving in the National Service so that she could join the Golani Brigade just like her brother did. There, she got to hear stories about her brother and to know him again as his friends became like her family.

Zedek Dayeinu received the bad news of her brother’s just before she started the 12th grade. Her brother Moshe was killed shortly after Operation Protective Edge began. The stories that she heard during the shiva fascinated her and therefore, she decided to enlist for a combat position: “I am sitting here because of him but nothing comforts me. He is not here.”

Yotam Eliyahu was 16 when he heard about the death of his brother. His brother Paz Eliyahu was a paratrooper who was killed in a booby-trapped area of Khan Younis. In their family, there were three children. After the death of Paz, the other brother Mathan continued serving in the IDF and Yotam remained at home.

“Sometimes, I was angry at my parents because they were busy most of the time thinking about Paz,” he stated. “I wanted it to return to the situation that it was before. When Paz was alive, they paid attention to everyone. This makes you feel like you are not yourself and that you are the brother of Paz. Many times, I did not see myself for who I am. Sometimes, I tried to change myself to be like him.”

A year and nine months later, Yotam’s parents needed to decide whether to permit him to serve in a combat unit. “The one who decides is just Yotam,” his mother stated. “I will support him in any decision he chooses but I hope it won’t be too difficult.”