Israel is in the midst of an ongoing national vaccination campaign, yet the number of confirmed coronavirus cases throughout the country has recently seen a steep increase, which in turn led to an increased number of COVID-related fatalities.
According to the Ministry of Health, as of Wednesday, Israel's death toll from coronavirus stood at 3,497 souls, each with a story, a life and a family.
And now the Human Tapestry website, an initiative by the Dror Israel educational movement, is honoring the names and stories of those who passed due to the coronavirus. Here are just three of them.
Yizhar Sharon passed away in December at the age of 66, after contracting the coronavirus at his workplace. Yizhar is survived by his wife and five children.
“Every person who dies is a world in its entirety, the void left will never be filled. We must not underestimate. Do not congregate and pay attention to encounters with other people,” says Yizhar’s family.
Yizhar’s wife Shuli says she entered quarantine when her husband was diagnosed with the virus and hospitalized at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva.
"The day I got out of isolation I went to work, and when I arrived I was told he was sedated and ventilated. I ran to the hospital where they let me stay with him for two and a half hours. I held his hand and told him he was strong, that he had been through a lot of things in life and he must not give up,” Shuli recalls.
"He moved his hand, one eyelid fluttered and a single tear rolled out. After a soul-destroying week he passed away," she says.
"His symptoms started during the Shabbat meal. He had been so happy because the children were there and a Barcelona soccer game was on. At the end of the game, he started to shiver, and feel very cold.
He was infected at work even though he never ever took his mask off. He was supposed to be retired by now, he planned to catch snakes and fly off to see his granddaughter. He never got to see her."
Liora Tzror passed away from the coronavirus at the age of 90, shortly after celebrating her birthday with her family, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She made aliyah from Libya alone in 1949, before starting her family in Israel.
She was a mother of nine who raised her children alone and lost a daughter in 2004. She had 34 grandchildren and 61 great-grandchildren.
Her family says Liora was a woman of peace, respectful and a model of humanity. She was full of life with an infectious laugh and deep wisdom.
"She leaves us with a great void and a deep sense of loss. She died prematurely; she was clear-minded, independent, sharp and engaged until her very last day,” her family says.
“She asked in her will that we remain united, because she is the one who united the whole family. She was a believer and asked us not to interfere in God’s way. She always said what needs to happen will happen.”
Liora feel ill two weeks before she died and was hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv.
"From the moment she was admitted we all went to the hospital. We gathered downstairs, dozens of us, and told stories about her. Even in death she brought the whole family together."
Yehuda Moshe was 73 when he and his family gathered together for Hanukkah. Just two days after lighting the first candle together he was diagnosed with the coronavirus and taken to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, where he passed away after exactly one week.
Yehuda was born in Iraq and arrived in Israel with his parents when he was just a year old. He is survived by his wife Ziva, his four children and grandchildren, to whom he had devoted the years since his retirement.
"Dad worked as an electrician in the president's residence. Thanks to that presidents often participated in our celebrations," says his daughter Inbal.
"We are now hearing stories of how much he helped other people, he even helped those most in need by fixing their electrical problems for free.”
At first his family was unable to visit him as they were all in quarantine, but as soon as they tested negative, Inbal and her sister were given permission to to visit him.
“We were there talking to him and encouraging him. and told him that my little sister was pregnant. He was so happy but suddenly he started to crash. A minute later the doctors arrived to perform CPR, but it didn't help,” says Inbal.
"I told them that I spoke to him an hour ago and that he was fine, but the doctor explained that the seventh day is the most critical, and when there are existing medical issues the body sometimes cannot cope with the burden."