Courtesy of JNS Photo credit: Erik Marmor/Flash90

Shalom and Tzur Yaniv recite the Kaddish mourning prayer at the Western Wall Memorial Day ceremony in Jerusalem, April 24, 2023. 

(April 25, 2023 / JNS) 

Tzur Yaniv, whose two brothers were killed earlier this year in a Palestinian terrorist attack, celebrated his bar mitzvah alongside their graves in Jerusalem during Memorial Day on Tuesday.

Hamas member Abdel Fattah Hussein Kharousha shot dead 21-year-old Hallel Menachem Yaniv and 19-year-old Yagel Yaniv while they were driving near Huwara in Samaria on Feb. 26.

Hallel had just completed his military service in the navy, while Yagel was planning to join an elite unit when he was soon conscripted.

Israel Defense Forces troops tracked down and killed Kharousha ten days later in Jenin, a hotbed of Palestinian terror.

Tzur, 13, marked the rite of passage into adulthood wearing a T-shirt with a drawing of his two slain brothers, flanked by his parents, Shalom and Esti, and sisters Rachel and Kama.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a message to Tzur to mark the occasion.

“We are all brothers. Brothers in pain, brothers in grief and also in joy. Today of all days a young boy from Har Bracha [in Samaria], Tzur Yaniv, the brother of Hallel and Yagel, reached the age of 13—bar mitzvah…. As every bereaved family does, Tzur carries the memory of his loved ones,” wrote the premier.

Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on Feb. 27.

“There are no words to describe such a disaster,” said Esti Yaniv at the funeral. “Instead of taking children to the [marriage] chuppah, we bury them.”

The same day, Palestinian terrorists killed Israeli-American Elan Ganeles near the Beit Ha’arava Junction close to Jericho in the Jordan Valley. A native of Connecticut, Ganeles served in the IDF from July 2016 to August 2018. He was living in Manhattan and had traveled to the Jewish state to celebrate a friend’s wedding.

On Monday night, Tzur along with his father recited the Kaddish prayer at the official Memorial Day ceremony at the Western Wall in Israel’s capital.

At sundown on Tuesday, the Jewish state will transition from a day of mourning to celebration, as the country marks its 75th Independence Day.