Yair (Irie), son of Ruth and Zvi, was born on the 25th of June, 1951
in Kefar Mordechai, Israel.
His first years were spent at Deganim - an agricultural farm that
lay on the northern border of the Negev desert. In 1957 the family
relocated in the small community of Afeka just north of Tel-Aviv,
and where he attended the local “Elharizi” elementary school.
Due to Zvi’s need for lower extremity prosthetics (after losing both
legs in WWII while serving in the British Commandos), Yair traveled
with the family to the USA and there continued with his high school
On his return to Israel, he volunteered to work in the fisheries of
Kibbutz Tel Yosef, and after the Six Day War (1967), Yair joined
Neot-HaKikar, who were the pioneers of desert tours in the sub Dead
Yair was enlisted into military service in February 1969, and was
assigned to the Armored Corps in which he did well at basic training,
after which he qualified the Armored School’s occupational specialty of armor crewman, and then to Tank Commanders’ course. His commanders identified his natural leadership attributes, and recommended that he advance to officer’s course and on completion was chosen to remain there as an instructor. Later on Yair joined the 7th Brigade and was appointed as a company commander, responsible for the training of young tank crewmen for the whole Centurion armored units. In between training units, Yair completed the Armored Company Commanders’ course, and airborne training and parachuting.
Yair was held in high regard by his commanders, and their evaluations of his performance were interspersed with accolades such as: “An officer who performs well under extreme pressure and in combat, demonstrates courage and is strongly mission oriented. Is very successful in leading his soldiers and is much loved by them”; “The officer demonstrates a strong will power, and strives to carry out all tasks assigned to him”; An officer with a strong sense of responsibility, who performs his duties well, attains good command and leadership qualities”.
For his service in the front lines, Yair was awarded the Operational Service Ribbon.
In the Yom Kippur War, Yair led his tank company in the early hours and days of the Golan Heights battlefield, in an attempt to hold off the advancing waves of the Syrian tanks. On the 7th of October, 1973, Yair was killed when his tank was directly hit when he rushed to aid another tank crew.
Yair was posthumously promoted to the rank of Captain, and awarded the “Military Exemplary Medal” for exemplary gallantry during the Golan Campaign.
Yair was buried at first in Afula (the same town where Zvi arrived as an illegal immigrant to Palestine in 1939), and a year later was put to rest in the military cemetery on Mount of Olives overlooking the Holy City of Jerusalem. Yair was survived by his parents, two sisters and two brothers.
In a letter of condolences, his commander wrote Ruth and Zvi the following words: “Your son Captain Yair served in the armored corps as a tank company commander. He was a pillar of his unit, and left his unique personal signature on all of his soldiers. He served in this unit for a year and a half, training and preparing his unit and soldiers for war in an excellent manner. He possessed a wonderful quality of kindness and good-heartedness.”