In Memoriam of:

Yonatan Chai Azulai

Age: 25

From: Jerusalem

In Loving Memory of the Innocent Souls Taken Too Soon. United in peace, their light shines on in the hearts left behind. October 7, 2023, a day of sorrow, but their memories guide us toward a hopeful tomorrow.

Yonatan Chai Azoulai is another one of the thousands of young people who wanted to hang out, dance and enjoy life. On the evening of that black Sabbath, Yonatan, a resident of the Nachalot neighborhood in Jerusalem, made his way towards Kibbutz Re'im, to the 'Nova' nature party. He went there together with his girlfriend Tal, his friend Eliya Cohen, Eliya's girlfriend Ziv, and with other friends. So they did not imagine how tragic that trip would be. Eliya was kidnapped to Gaza, the two young women managed to be saved, while Yonatan was murdered. Only 25 years old when he died.

Like many others, Yonatan Azoulai's story is also a story of heroism. His family members want everyone to know him. They will recognize and remember Yonatan, who sacrificed himself to save his girlfriend Tal.

Yonatan's story began at 6:28. He took a picture when he was so happy. Neither he nor the other thousands of young people dreamed what would happen only 2 minutes later. At approximately 7:00 a.m., about half an hour after the rocket fire, which was only getting louder and louder, he sent his Kafir brother a short message: "We are at war!". Kafir, who was sleeping at the time, responded to him at 8:00: "It's really a war, God forbid," he wrote.

Jonathan still managed to call his mother shortly after, and in a chilling video call, one that she will probably never forget, he said: "They are shooting at us, I love you, take care of my brothers, I don't know if I will see you." They didn't have time to finish the conversation. A loud explosion that was heard led to the disconnection of the call. The story was completed by the family members of the late Yonatan with testimonies from Tal and the other surviving friends.

Yonatan was at that moment in the shelter, when the terrorists threw a grenade at him. Jonathan took most of the blow and shrapnel as he defended his girlfriend. He lost consciousness. Tal, as mentioned, managed to escape thanks to the resourcefulness Yonatan showed. He saved a life and paid with his life.
At the time, the family did not know what had become of Yonatan. They called everyone they knew who was with him, but were unable to make contact with anyone. The next day, some family members went to look for Yonatan in the party area and found his car wrecked on the side of the road about 12 minutes from the shelter where Yonatan was in his last moments. He even found Jonathan's shirt covered in blood.

The family members thought that maybe he was injured and hiding, they wondered if he had been kidnapped to Gaza. Five nerve-wracking days later they received the hard news - Yonatan, their loved one, was murdered.

"It's a great loss," says his brother Kafir. "It's hard for us to digest. We haven't grasped it yet, it's impossible to explain the terrible feelings. We still sometimes wait for him to come and knock on the door and say he's here. The days before the hard news were the hardest and most difficult of my life, terrible suffering. We are suffering from severe trauma and we all need treatment . I was like a zombie at his funeral. The grief is simply great."

The Azoulai family has a deep and long-standing relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's family. The late father Yaacov, who died 18 years ago, worked at the Prime Minister's house. Yonatan was named after the late Yoni Netanyahu, the older brother of Prime Minister Netanyahu. The members of the Netanyahu family visited the family home, came to show comfort, and also participated in the writing of the Torah scroll that was put in memory of Yonatan and Father Yaakov on the 30th day of his murder.

The late Yonatan, only 25 years old at the time of his murder, left behind his mother and four siblings. He graduated from Denmark School, served as a fighter in the Shimshon Regiment in the Kafir Brigade, and was, as Kafir shares, "an ardent fan of Beitar."

The family lives in Nakhalot, and Jonathan found a job at the well-known Marzipan Bakery. "He was a plump boy in his youth, but little by little he lost weight and became handsome," adds Kafir. "He was always at the center of things, he wasn't just another one. In an hour we saw that he just touched everyone. We talked to a lot of people who were at the party, everyone said that he managed to touch them, everyone felt that Yonatan was their true friend."

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Remembrances of Yonatan Chai Azulai

A life beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered.

Here we celebrate the memories, the joys, and the life of Yonatan Chai Azulai.