The family of Yagel Ya’acov and Hallel Weigel Yaniv, two brothers whom terrorists murdered in February, met with the four recipients of their corneas at Rabin Medical Center’s Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah on Sunday.
“We are at a happy event — there are people here who have returned to see. It is a wonder of wonders. The light of Hallel Weigel’s eyes still shines in the world,” bereaved father Shalom Yaniv said.
One of the recipients, 66-year-old Ron Carmeli of Petach Tikvah, said he’s been looking forward to seeing his granddaughter, playing with her and taking her to the zoo.
“You can feel the dramatic movement from this transition from evil that turned into boundless free-giving love,” said Carmeli.
Itzhak Buskila, a 42-year-old husband and father of three children from Tirat Hacarmel near Haifa, now looks forward to returning to work in warehouse logistics for a food distributor. He read an emotional letter to parents Shalom and Esti Yaniv.
“You are a larger-than-life family. In the most difficult hours, you thought about giving and free love. Thanks to you, my sight has returned to me. I will never forget the moment they informed me that a donor had been found. Thanks to you, my children will have a father who can see them grow up.”
Also receiving corneas were Ziona Zalzberg, 68, from Migdal Haemek, near Nazareth, who loves traveling and looks forward to doing “everyday tasks” on her own, and Tal Almos, a 44-year-old husband and father of three from the coastal town of Atlit, near Haifa. Almos was born with an eye disease and received a cornea transplant years ago. He lost his vision in an accident two years ago.
Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were killed in a Palestinian drive-by shooting in Huwara, south of Nablus (Shechem) in February. Palestinians rammed their car, forcing it to the side of the road. The brothers were then shot to death at point-blank range.
Hallel was studying in a hesder program that combines military service with religious studies in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona. The 21-year-old was a staff sergeant in the Israel Navy and served in a patrol boat squadron.
Yagel, who was two weeks away from his 20th birthday, was studying in another hesder program in the Givat Olga neighborhood in Hadera. He was seeking to qualify to serve in a combat unit.
Both had signed Israel Transplant (ADI) organ donor cards.
A recent study by Israel Transplant, which helps hospitals find organ donor candidates, found that 60% of Israelis are willing to become organ donors.