Portrait of a Jewish Patriot

Yinon Klein lives a double life: a combat soldier in the IDF's Givati brigade during the week, and a husband and father to his family on weekends.

Avi Yellin , | updated: 11:57

IDF Soldiers
IDF Soldiers
IDF Spokesman

Each Sunday morning, Private Yinon Klein leaves his wife and two children to return to his IDF unit for basic training. At the age of 23, Klein has begun to live a double life in service to his country. On weekends he is a husband and father to two but during the week he is a fighter in Israel’s Givati brigade.

Yinon Klein grew up the seventh of eight children. As a youth he became active in the "Ezra" Religious Zionist youth movement, where he met his future wife Mor and, at 15 began to study at the prestigious Mercaz HaRav Kook yeshiva in Jerusalem. At 20, Yinon and Mor were married, and at 23 – already a father to two children – Yinon enlisted into the IDF as a combat soldier.

From an early age, Yinon always wanted to give of himself to his nation. Although already a husband and father at 23, he decided to join an IDF combat unit in order to participate in the struggle to defend the homeland of the Jewish people. Despite being advised by many close friends that volunteering on a Magen David Adom ambulance would be just as important as serving in the IDF while allowing him more time to spend with his family, Yinon maintained that the highest level of service to the Jewish nation is to be a combat soldier in Israel’s army. He knew that due to his age, his window of opportunity to serve in a combat unit was shrinking each day and if he did not enlist now it would become too late. After receiving permission and support from his wife, he kissed her and their children goodbye and entered basic training.

When Klein was drafted into the Givati brigade last summer, his commanders – all a few years younger than he – were initially shocked to hear that instead of parents waiting for him to come home each Sabbath, Yinon returns to his wife and two children. The commanders help accommodate the Klein family as much as possible, allowing Yinon to call his wife whenever the soldiers have free time, despite the strict regulations against phone calls from basic training.

When asked about his children, Yinon beams with pride as he shares stories of his daughter Bracha’s bright smile and mischievous adventures. He says that his son Yosef –  now13 months old and growing his first tooth – resembles the cartoon baby on the Bamba (popular Israeli children's snack) package due to his chubbiness and the single curl atop his head.

Yet despite his high motivation to serve and the support Yinon receives from his commanders on base, adjusting to the double life has been difficult for Klein and his family. The children do not have a father during the week. The first time Yinon spoke to his wife while touring the base, he says she broke down crying from the stress of being apart. Although Yinon admits that it is difficult for him to not be there for his wife to support her emotionally, he maintains the importance of serving the Jewish people as a soldier in Israel’s army. Upon receiving an award for excellence from his commanders, Yinon passed the award on to his wife, who he says deserves it for carrying the burden in the home and sharing her husband with the nation of Israel.