Israeli soldier celebrates wedding days after he’s shot and his brother goes missing in action
Yonatan Tzvi and his bride, Galya Landau, both 24, made the difficult decision to marry Oct. 17 after he was wounded and his brother vanished on the first day of the Israel-Hamas War. (Video Eden)
An Israeli soldier celebrated his wedding Tuesday, a little over a week after he was wounded battling Hamas terrorists and his younger brother was declared missing in action.
Amid grief and uncertainty, Yonatan and Galya Tzvi, both 24, tied the knot in a scaled-down ceremony that had been planned months before Hamas terrorists stormed into Israel Oct. 7 and slaughtered more than 1,400 people.
“It was obviously a very bittersweet wedding and there were tears,” the groom’s father, Rabbi Doron Perez, told Fox News Digital. “But somehow we were able to celebrate, and it was also very happy.”
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Yonatan married his bride, Galya Landau, in Israel Oct. 17. The groom, a soldier, was wounded Oct. 7 in a gunfight with Hamas, and his brother, a tank commander, is missing. (Video Eden)
When fighting broke out, Yonatan, a soldier in a paratrooper brigade, was dispatched to Sderot then to an army base in Nahal Oz, less than two miles from the border with Gaza.
Hamas terrorists had breached the security fence and taken over the army base.
Yonatan’s 22-year-old brother Daniel, a tank commander, happened to be stationed there when fighting broke out.
“When [Yonatan] went into the base, some of the tanks were missing. He knew where Daniel’s tank was parked, and it wasn’t there,” Doron said.
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Rabbi Doron Perez and his wife with their son, Yonatan Tzvi, at his wedding Oct. 17 in Israel. Yonatan was wounded in a battle with Hamas terrorists days earlier, and his brother was declared missing in action. (Video Eden)
For more than 90 minutes, Yonatan was engaged in an intense gun battle. One of his friends was shot in the stomach, the other in the back.
Yonatan was hit in the leg, but, in what his father described as an “incredible miracle,” the bullet missed the artery and bone. He will likely make a full recovery, his father said.
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Days later, the family learned the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had located Daniel’s tank, and it had been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during the fighting.
A slain soldier was found inside the tank, but Daniel and the two other members of his crew appeared to have vanished.
“We don’t know where he is, and there’s a strong likelihood he was taken hostage,” Doron said. “It’s a nightmarish situation.”
Map of Israel and the Palestinian territories. (Julia Bonavita/Fox News Digital)
For now, the military has designated Daniel missing in action. The news came on Thursday, and the families of the bride and groom had to decide whether to go forward with the wedding.
“Judaism is a life-affirming religion,” Doron said. “Even in the face of unimaginable challenges, we have to persevere and have faith that God will prevail and everything that happens is for the best and is part of a broader plan.”
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The couple chose to wed but changed the location from an event hall in Ashkelon, which has been pounded by rockets from Gaza since the war began, to Yad Binyamin, where the Perez family lives.
Israeli soldiers attend the wedding of Yonatan and Galya Tzvi Oct. 17 in Israel. (Video Eden)
They also slashed the guest list from 500 to about 150. The wedding was held in a school because it had two large air raid shelters.
“The women in our community did everything,” said Doron, who is the executive chair of the Mizrachi World Movement, a nonprofit that promotes religious Zionism. “We had a delicious three-course meal, and it was beautiful, and the dancing was incredible.”
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Many of the guests were soldiers in uniform, but Daniel’s absence cast a shadow over the festivities.
“The sadness was always there,” Doron said. “But we managed to move from sorrow to celebration. You can experience happiness in the midst of pain.”
Yonatan and Galya Tzvi celebrate their wedding in Israel. (Video Eden)
Doron said he still can’t believe Hamas was able to pour into the country and wreak so much destruction.
Israel had a misconception its military sophistication and defensive technology could protect it, he added.
“I don’t think there was one person who wasn’t shocked to the core,” he said. “The concept of the perfect, impregnable Gaza border came crumbling down.”
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Hamas terrrorists took more than 210 hostages in the brutal ambush.
Israel has responded with retaliatory airstrikes that have leveled entire blocks and killed 4,385 people as of Saturday, according to the Palestinian territory’s Hamas-controlled health ministry.
Julia Bonavita and Emily Robertson contributed to this report.
Rebecca Rosenberg is a veteran journalist and book author with a focus on crime and criminal justice. Email tips to [email protected] and @ReRosenberg.