Friends remember him as a strong, stable, and very happy personality – the type who manages to smile when everyone else is tense and frustrated. Although quiet and determined, he was pleasant to be with, always ready to help, and always smiling. Yossi came to Yeshivat Ateret Cohanim straight out of high school in order to study Torah close to the Temple Mount. At the same time, he was active in the “settlement activities” of Ateret Cohanim in the pioneering years of the early 1990’s. The Jerusalem Reclamation Project had restored Jewish ownership over several properties in the Old City, but they were in very poor physical condition and in a (then) isolated area far from other Jewish families. It was up to the yeshiva students to live in these buildings, guard them, and do minimal renovations. Not every student – just a year or two out of high school – is able to take on such a big responsibility, and balance it with his primary task – intensive Torah study. But Yossi did it, quietly, smiling, as if this were a normal, pleasant way of life.
Later, Yossi did his army service and further yeshiva studies in the Karnei Shomron Hesder Yeshiva, and then settled in Itamar. There too, he and his wife were pioneers. They were the first family to live on the hilltop that is now the site of Itamar’s yeshiva. Yossi served as administrative head of Itamar for many years, was active in absorption of new families, in security, in marketing Itamar’s organic agricultural produce and eggs, and in education. He taught first-grade in the elementary school yeshiva, worked with troubled youth, and, as the father of five young children, was deeply involved in the educational institutions of the community.
Itamar, a community of about 60 families, is very close to Elon Moreh, Yitzhar, and Shechem. This area has been one of the “hottest” since the beginning of the Oslo War. As the head of Itamar’s emergency security squad, Yossi rushed out to respond to the terrorist attack on Thursday evening. As one of his friends put it, “Knowing Yossi’s dedicated, active, decisive personality, it is clear to me that he was murdered in action, and was not a passive victim.”
May their family and friends be comforted, and may these murders be speedily avenged. Bracha Slae, Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva– Jerusalem Reclamation Project, Old City of Jerusalem