Thousands of Israelis on Friday attended the funerals of two soldiers killed the day before in a shooting attack at a bus stop in the West Bank. Sgt. Yoseph Cohen, 19, was buried in Jerusalem, while Staff Sgt. Yovel Moryosef was laid to rest in his home town of Ashkelon.
Hundreds mourned Cohen at the cemetery on the Mount of Olives, where a civilian service was held and not a military one, at the request of the family. Among those present were Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan, MKs Motti Yogev and Oren Hazan, and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.
"Yosef, sweet boy, righteous boy, I never believed that this moment would ever come. We all believe that God gives and God takes away, but we didn’t know, we didn’t believe, we never thought. How many years did I raise you, a wonderful child, holy, pure, full of love," said Cohen's stepfather, Rabbi Eliyahu Mirav, breaking down as he spoke.
Cohen's commander, Major Mati Shevach, eulogized him as a soldier dedicated to protecting his country.
"The last time I saw you, a few months ago, you were with the entire company at the ceremony to receive your beret," Shevach said. "You were so happy to be finally carrying out operational activities, to defend the people of Israel, for which you worked so hard."
"For eight months I accompanied you, I watched you train, overcome difficulties, improve and prepare for the important task to which you were assigned - the task of defending the people of Israel," he added.
In Ashkelon, some 2,000 people, including Deputy Minister Michael Oren, Deputy Minister Yitzhak Cohen and MK Sofa Landver, attended the funeral of Staff Sergeant Moryosef.
Moryosef's girlfriend, Michal Bognim, read aloud the eulogy she earlier posted on Facebook: "My head will not understand and my heart will not stop feeling the pain, love, regret, worry, anger. I was right when I thought you were the love of my life. You ended your life with the greatest love there is. You were so young and just next month you were supposed to celebrate your 21st birthday. It is not sinking in, my love, you were just a child. Who is this lowly murderous terrorist who took you from me? My warrior."
Mordechai Moryosef, the father of the soldier, remembered his son as a spiritual person dedicated to helping others. "You are a fun child, a child of Torah, a child of honoring your parents, a child with a girlfriend, a child of helping, you came into this world to help others. I ask one thing - do not stop helping in the world to come," he said.
The commander of the Kfir Brigade, Colonel Zion Ratzon, also eulogized the fallen soldier: "Yovel, I came here on behalf of the Netzach Yehuda Battalion, the Kfir Brigade and every IDF soldier to pay our last respects. Unfortunately, I did not know you personally, but in the last few hours I have heard from many of your comrades and commanders. How in your youth you were a basketball player, but gave this up for meaningful service as a warrior in the Israel Defense Forces."
"Friends told me of a special person, a guiding light who helped others. A modest and quiet man with a good and open heart," he added.
The IDF is still hunting for the perpetrators of the attack, which left two others seriously wounded. One of the two, a civilian, is reportedly improving from her wounds, while the second injured man, another combat soldier, is still fighting for his life.