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Mother of Injured Soldier: Only Miracle will Save Him

Yonatan Ben Yishai was run over by a Merkava tank in the Golan as he slept.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/28/2012, 2:18 PM

Merkava tank
Merkava tank
IDF website

Armored Corps soldier Yonatan Ben Yishai continues to be hospitalized in grave condition in a hospital, after he was accidentally run over by a tank Monday.

His mother, Nava, told Voice of Israel radio: "There is no change in his condition. He is in very serious to critical condition. We are awaiting miracles. The Heavens will help him out of this."

"The injury is multi-systemic: serious damage to the chest and damage to the brainstem. The doctors think there is no way back without the help of miracles. 

"They were tired, they hadn't slept all night," she said when asked to describe how the accident occurred. "They lay down to sleep – I do not know if they had permission or not – on a path used by tanks and the tank drove over his head. Other friends were there but managed to escape because they were lying a bit higher up."

"This is simply a superfluous accident for which my son paid with his life, and we as a family shall also pay for it," she added.

Addressing IDF commanders, she said, "I want to send a message. First of all, make sure that they will not be so tired, so they will not have to just plunk themselves down and sleep so hard that they can't even hear a tank approaching. Secondly, they should make sure not to let them sleep in a tank field, they should sleep in an organized manner."

Yonatan, or Yoni, is "an amazing, wonderful guy," she said. "A tzaddik who sanctifies the Name of Heaven wherever he goes. A combat soldier in Golani who insisted on going into combat."

An initial inquiry showed that the Merkava tank that ran over Yoni was moving backward and its crew did not see the soldier, who was sleeping on the path used by tanks.