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The Death of Yoni Jesner
Last uploaded : Monday 30th Sep 2002 at 22:21
Contributed by : The Editor



The terrible events in Israel hit home during Yom Tov when Yoni Jesner, a a nineteen-year-old Jewish medical student from Scotland at the threshold of his young life was killed in the Palestinian suicide bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv on 19 September. Yoni?s father Joe had been a regular visitor to London and I had enjoyed his company at barbecues in my mews. When a mutual friend who had been terribly close to Joe rang, distraught, to tell me that Yoni was in Intensive Care at the Ichilov Hospital on Thursday night, I stopped everything and kept my television on well into the night. It was my birthday, but I did not feel like celebrating. Finally, when the British news had no further updates on his condiiton I wen tot bed but could barely sleep. Up at dawn I turned on the TV and heard the tragic news that Yoni had succumbed to his terrible injuries.

Yoni?s death ? and life -- was covered on British television with great sensitivity and affection, as if the whole nation had known him. When one of his kidneys was donated to help save the life of a Palestinian girl, one felt there was a universal ray of hope in this gesture and in the coverage it received. He had been hoping to complete his medical studies in London and then return to Israel to look after Arab and Jewish patients. It is a fitting tribute to him that his organs were given to others in order to save their lives.

The subsequent siege of Arafat?s headquarters was, even to me, a hawk, an ugly end to the High Holy Days, and I had no answer for my non-Jewish neighbours who complained that Sharon could have shown respect for Yoni?s memory by letting peace prevail ? even in terrorist-infested Ramallah -- over Yom Tov.

A few weeks ago, when I heard that exactly 613 Jewish people had died in this intifadah, I thought, ?Maybe there will be a miracle and at this significant numerical juncture everyone will lay down their arms and come together in peace, as if truly in a Commandment from God..? Of course, I was being my usual optimistic self.

To read a beautiful tribute to Yoni, and other pages of tributes to the 600-plus Jewish victims of the Intifadah, please go to:



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