Photo Credit: Courtesy
IDF reservist Hanoch Younik.

Hanoch Younik, 38, from Brooklyn, NY, heard about the October 7 massacre on Simchat Torah, and his wife, the mother of their six children, told him she could see on his face that he wanted to fly to Israel and help whichever way he could. Hanoch did not deny it.

Hanoch served in the Haredi Netzah Yehuda battalion as a volunteer from abroad but did not serve in the reserves because after the service he returned to the US, got married, and was removed from reserve service.


Hanoch wrote a WhatsApp reservists’ group that he had been a paramedic for 15 years but his certificates were not valid in Israel. An IDF commander who was looking for a paramedic contacted Hanoch and offered to recruit him. A few hours later, Hanoch received his order to join the 8109 reserves battalion and flew to Israel on his birthday.

Hanoch Younik with his wife and children. / Courtesy

A lone soldier, Hanoch was offered room and board on his days off from the Rak Latet (just giving) association, named after the late Matan Malka, a paratrooper from Gesher HaZiv who was killed on October 7.

The Rak Latet hostel welcomes lone soldiers from Israel and the Diaspora, with the understanding that the most important thing for soldiers who have arrived from abroad is the feeling of a home, not as guests, but as family.

“As soon as I called them, I was told that I could also bring my friends. They asked me what I needed and they also provided me with Glatt food. In the army, I didn’t eat meat because of the kashrut issue. Suddenly, after three months, I felt at home for a moment, they took care of treats for me and I was able to do my laundry,” Hanoch related.

Hanoch plans to stay in Israel at least through Passover, and in a week, thanks to donations, his wife and six children will arrive in Israel to stay with him for two weeks.

After three months by himself, he is really looking forward to this reunion.


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