A fragile cease fire brokered by the United States and Egypt went into effect late Wednesday after a day of intensive rocket fire from both sides, with a Gazan missile killing an IDF soldier, the sixth Israeli to die over the past week.
Despite the cease-fire, there were a number of reports Wednesday night of missiles continuing to be fired into Israel. And In a deadly new element to the conflict, 28 people were wounded when a terrorist bomb planted on bus exploded near the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.
Late Tuesday night fallen soldier Yosef Partuk, 18, was laid to rest in Jerusalem. Partuk was killed when rockets were fired at a kibbutz on which he was was stationed near the Israel-Gaza border.
Partuk's friends described him as a courageous young man who would volunteer first for every mission. He had posted some of his last words on his personal Facebook page, expressing his state of mind just before he died: “Either you let us go into Gaza or let us go back to our homes.”
Raised in the West Bank town of Emmanuel, Partuk was one of eight children. Educated in the Haredi Ahavat Moshe Yeshiva in Jerusalem, he was well liked by his peers. Nathan Zemach, who studied with him there said that Partuk had “a huge heart and love for everyone. He never stopped smiling and always lent a helping hand to anyone who needed it.
“Whenever a new kid joined the yeshiva Yosef was the first to greet him,” Zemach said. “He was a true leader in his class.”
Ido Mushar, managing director at the council of Emanuel and a family friend, concurred. “It was very important for him to join the army,” Mushar said. “He would exercise every day to become fit so he’d be accepted to one of the elite units. He was given a special honorary decoration for his activity and behavior and for being a role model for his unit.”
Despite the lifestyle change from his yeshiva days, friends emphasize that Partuk remained adherent to the Torah’s commandments, donning Tefilin daily, observing Shabbat and more.
Seeking to avert further tragedy, tens of thousands men, women and children throughout Israel and across the globe continued to take on additional commitments to prayer, Torah study and acts of kindness as protection for Israeli citizens and troops, with Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and institutions around the world leading many of these efforts.
To learn more, visit our SPECIAL SECTION: Israel – Operation Pillar of Defense.