Dedicating the observatory in Yoni Brand's memory
Dedicating the observatory in Yoni Brand's memoryHadassah Borosh

On Thursday evening, a new observatory was inaugurated in the Jordan Valley in memory of the late Master Sgt. (res.)Yoni Brand, who fell in the line of duty.

The observatory, which is funded by the National Fund for Israel, was established by the student village of Kedma at Mechora in cooperation with Yoni's family and friends.

Yoni, who was 28 years old, was a third-year student in the Department of Physiotherapy at Ariel University. Raised in Jerusalem, he served in the Armored Corps in the 52nd Battalion, 401st Brigade, and fell in battle in the northern Gaza Strip.

In addition to being an exemplary soldier, Yoni was a loved and special person. In his youth, he studied at Morasha elementary school and continued to the Netiv Meir High School. Afterwards he spent 3 years at the Shavei Hebron Yeshiva.

Yoni was the son of Rabbi Hanan Brand, a Religious Zionist rabbi, graduate of the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, national kashrut (kosher) expert, and a former senior member of the kashrut system under the leadership of Israel's chief rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Shapira.

The student village Kedma at Mechora, which Yoni was a member of, initiated the establishment of the observatory in order to commemorate Yoni's work and legacy. The observatory serves as a place of gathering and remembrance for family and friends, students, and residents of the area.

A sign placed in the place bears the inscription: "Our Yoni, a soul of boundless kindness, a servant of God, a friend and a man of truth, simplicity, and pleasantness, fell in battle against terrorists in the Gaza Strip during Swords of Iron."