Iri, sitting in the living room in Afeka, or at the picnic table outside, all eyes on him, unassumingly commanding everyone’s attention, always at the center , his laughter loud, deep in his eyes, quietly
dominating. When Iri laughed, everyone laughed.
Iri, intense as he makes you the center of his attention, his eyes, his thoughts, all centered on you. Whatever the connection, he was the friend you always hoped for.
And the first call on day six of Yom Kippur, to Ruth. The question, and her answer: Mickey and Rami wounded, and Iri ainenu.
The memories in focus, flowing, 40 years old, of a special individual from a special family. My first thought when my youngest son was born on February 9, 1974 — he will have the beautiful name of a beautiful young man—a mensch. To all of you who carry his name and remind us of how lucky we were to know him—todah rabah.
Iri had good genes, that quiet strength and determination from Ruth and Zvi, he the warrior and visionary, she the strongest person I ever knew. And that strength emanated from him, to everyone around him.
“Iri po? Sachten, Az hakol beseder.”
But Iri ainenu. And like everyone else, I have very much missed growing old with him in my life.
Fred Greenberg (Rafi Bar-Am)
October 7, 2013
Eytan Yair Lehavi
1986 - 2006
Son of Uri and Nona (Swet) Lehavi, brother to Yarden
his elder sister Eytan was born in the United States. His Grandmother Ruth arrived for the birth and circumcision. (My father stayed in Israel).
Before the arrival of the "Mohel" my mother conveyed my father's request- to name my newborn son "Yair".
As two of my parents grandchildren were already named after "Yair" ("Tal-Yair" Mickey's son and "Yair"- Rami's) I thought that adding another grandson named Yair (as a first name) will be the source of many mistakes.
In our family, when we talk about "our Yair" -we refer to "Irie".
"Yair" when talking about Yair the grandson, "Fred and Sue's "Yair", " "Eli Geva's "Yair", " So and So's "Yair"... and so on.
Uri and I chose the name "Eytan (Ethan) – Yair". "Yair his second name.
Eytan – Yair 1986 -2006
Buried in the military cemetery, Kiryat Shaul. His Grandmother Ruth and grandfather Zvi are buried in the adjacent plot for " bereaved parents of soldiers". Such a plot has not been assigned to the military cemetery on Mount of Olives, thus preventing their burial close to "Yair" their beloved son.
Uri & Nona (Swet) Lehavi
"הָיָה אִישׁ – וּרְאוּ: אֵינֶנּוּ עוֹד;
קֹדֶם זְמַנּוֹ מֵת הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה,
וְצַר מְאֹד, מְאֹד!
וְגָדוֹל מְאֹד, מְאֹד הַכְּאֵב!
הָ יָ ה אִישׁ – וּרְאוּ: אֵ י נֶ נּ וּ עוֹד,
וְשִׁירַת חַיָּיו בְּאֶמְצַע נִפְסְקָה;
עוֹד שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר אֶחָד הָיָה-לּוֹ,
וְהִנֵּה אָבַד הַמִּזְמוֹר לָעַד,
ח. נ. ביאליק
Unfortunately I did not have the pleasure of knowing you, maybe just a little, but only through stories told by family and friends.
Yet, I alone have been privileged with the honor of carrying your name.
Over the years, I have built an image of you in my mind. This image of you, Irie, or “Uncle Yair”, as I have come to call you became my internal compass.
As a child, I would address the image I had built in my mind and ask myself “what would Uncle Yair do?" I find myself asking this question to this day.
I cannot begin to explain what it means for me to carry your name, as it has become an essential part of my being that no words can truly capture its meaning.
There are memories that I will always carry with me; childhood memories full of smiles and joy that were always shadowed by silent tears. A stifled sob full of longing as I, with the innocence of a 3 or 4 year old boy, answered the phone “Yair Swet speaking”. The stories about you, told by Debbie, Saba Zvi, and Savta Ruth, which I never grew tired of hearing; tales of youth and mischief that were full of laughter and always carried with them the importance of the values that you held dear. Values of kinship and friendship and the lengths you would go to help a friend.
There are two things that are very special to me that I would like to tell you.
The first; last Memorial Day, before Savta passed away, Karen stayed with her in Afeka while we went to your memorial service. Savta told her “You do not know what it means to me to hear the words: Itai son of Yair Swet”. I feel this sentence holds true for all of us.
The second; after Amit informed us that she is pregnant with Yuval, Karen turned to me and said: “You know that you are about to become “Uncle Yair”. And I just stood there, completely dumbfounded. For me “Uncle Yair” has always been you, and suddenly this title was going to become mine as well.
There are a lot of other things I would like to tell you, but we both know that there is no need. Maybe it’s because we are both left handed, maybe it’s because we share the same name. And maybe, it’s simply because your image and spirit has been with me since before I could remember myself.
I feel privileged and honored to be carrying your name, and I can only hope that you feel the same.
Uri Yair Paskar
David Yair Prag
Through the eyes of the child that I was at the time, Irie, who
was 6 years older, was for me a super-hero. Outstanding.
A role model. Strong. One-of-a-kind.
In my mind and heart his magnificent and strong image is
engraved as he used to lift me up and raise me high up in the air,
with only one arm !
When Irie died, I was sixteen years old, and decided, on my own, to add his name to mine.
Two years later, following his inspiration and example, I enlisted
into the Israeli Army Armored Corps and - like him - became a tank officer.