A bereaved and bewildered family in the Israeli village of Hadid sits shiva, mourning the loss of a man they say was all heart.
Yigal Yehoshua was lynched. He was 56 years old with a wife and two children. He was one of six brothers in a close-knit family.
An Arab mob set upon him as he drove to his home in Lod, one of Israel’s mixed cities where violence exploded last week.
“He was a man of charity,” his brother, Efi Yehoshua, told Fox News. “Just because he had such a big heart, we said we will donate his organs. We have been honored to do so. They will live because of him.”
Yigal was stoned and beaten, apparently just because he was a Jew, in a community that turned ugly overnight.
Badly beaten, Yigal somehow managed to drive himself away from his attackers. He made it all the way to his driveway, where he collapsed. Yigal never woke up and after several days in a coma, he succumbed to the attack.
But his family likes to think somehow Yigal lives on in others. One of his organs is already helping someone: an Arab woman. Randa Oweis is 59 years old. She’d been sick nine years and waiting for a kidney for seven, on a very long list. It was her turn when Yigal died and by chance, she got his kidney. It was transplanted to her at Hadassah Hospital Tuesday.
“I never believed I would take the kidney of a person who was killed in such a way, in such a criminal way,” Randa told Fox News from her hospital bed. “I hurt for the family. I feel that I am taking a kidney of a person who is like family to me. Now I have a family, a different family, a Jewish family.”
Randa has five children and is eager to get home and get well. She is grateful to a man she will never get a chance to thank. Like others there, she is tired of the fighting, the anger, the unrest.
She and Yigal’s brother both said they just want peace.
The riots that broke out last week in several of Israel’s mixed Arab-Jewish cities stunned many in Israel. It was a shocking first, they said. Arabs have long bristled under the conditions of life in Israel where many say they are second-class citizens. But many also say they have co-existed peacefully until now in Israel’s mixed cities. The perfect storm of deadlocks and grievances and the explosion of tension that led to this latest war between Israel and Hamas set blood boiling on the streets of several cities. Property has been damaged, people attacked, cars torched, hateful language thrown around and people have, for the first time in many of their lives, felt insecure. Residents reporters have spoken to said it will take time to return to the status quo.
Yigal’s niece works as a medic. She was working the night her uncle was killed. In fact, she was treating an Arab man who suffered a head wound after a scuffle with police. She said the next call that came into emergency dispatchers — she’d later find out — was the call about Yigal.