Hadas’s husband Baruch z”l was murdered three months ago, erev-pesach, while traveling with four of their five children to Hadas’s family for the holiday. A terrorist opened fire on the car. As Baruch was killed, Hadas grabbed the steering-wheel and continued driving while her ten year old daughter unbuckled the children and slid them under the seats. Hadas still has bullets in her back and her son has shrapnel in his leg. All of her children suffer from severe trauma.
Baruch had served in the IDF and the Israel Police for nearly three decades. For 25 years he served in various roles in the IDF, the last of which was as lieutenant colonel in the elite 8200 intelligence unit. After retiring from the army in June 2011, Mizrahi joined Israel Police, and for the past three years held a senior intelligence position in the Israel Police and was in charge of tracking organized crime.
We provide Hadas a tremendous amount of support and she is part of our special support group for young widows. We are also assisting her in her legal battle to be recognized within the Defense Department (since she was injured with her husband, the usual benefits of being a widow/orphan of a police officer are not applied, and they can only receive the lesser benefits from Bituach Leumi)
Sergeant First Class (res.) Yair Ashkenazi (36) was killed in the early morning hours of Friday, July 25th during operational activity in the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reported. Ashkenazi was the 33rd casualty of Operation Protective Edge. Ashkenazi is survived by his wife and three small children, the youngest only 4 months old. Yair Ashkenazi, was a lawyer by profession, worked as an external legal counsel to Modi’in Municipality. His sister-in-law (Moriah’s sister), an IDF officer with the tragic job of visiting the relatives of wounded and dead soldiers, was with the family when they were informed of his death.
Hadas Mizrachi came with Mindee and me, we walked in and she introduced herself. Everyone knew her story… about how her husband Baruch was murdered next to her, of her grabbing the steering-wheel as the terrorist continued to shoot at their car, of her daughter unbuckling her other children and hiding them under the seat cushions… of the bullets she still has in her side.
Moriah Ashkenazi was taking a break from the visitors, when she heard that Hadas was there, she came out to meet her.
It was incredible to watch. Hadas encouraged everyone to be strong, to find strength and then told them it was going to be hard, and to prepare for it to be hard. She empowered Moriah’s in-laws to be there after the shiva, she empowered Moriah’s sisters to continue to be by her side as the weeks move forward. She expressed from her soul, from a place of understanding, the deep loss and grief and the need to continue forward.
Moriah looked at Hadas with begging eyes… begging for answers in this personal hell. And Hadas told her to be strong and promised that she would be there. She told her that it was going to be hard but she has to tell her children stories to keep Yair’s memory alive, that it was going to be hard because she will see Yair everywhere and to hold onto those moments, and that it will be hard all the time.. in the morning and in the night… but that she even when it is hard, and even as she cries, she most remember to stay strong.
Moriah held her 4-month old… she has two other children. Her body still has not recovered from the pregnancy.. She received some of Yair’s belongings and was wearing his watch on her wrist, his dogtags around her kneck, and checked his phone every so often as if she was expecting him to call.
Hadas and Moriah were speaking when the Canadian group arrived and once they had left, Moriah got up and went to speak to Hadas some more.