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Yona Malina

Here is the story of a remarkable young man, a true inspiration whose story deserves to be told.

Yona Malina, paralyzed in 1995 terror attack, passed away last month.

 

I met alone with Yona Malina’s parents, Eva and Jan, in Kiryat Ono following his funeral last Tuesday, May 31. His parents beamed when they spoke about him.

 

We had hoped to get our community involved with Yona’s life, I had plans for several months to meet with him on May 31. It wasn’t meant to be.

 

Yona was a proud Zionist who never regretted making aliyah even after he was permanently paralyzed from the neck down in a homicide bus bombing in 1995. From then on he was on constant, 24-hour life support. 

 

His parents told me that after the bombing they brought Yona to Switzerland, to the the best facility available to treat his injuries.

 

He wasn’t expected to awaken from his coma or recover, but when he did, he immediately requested to return to Israel. 

 

He was proud and independent. Yona insisted on flying back to Israel without his parents. They honored his request. They visited Israel 29 times since the bombing. They visited him every three months for three weeks at a time; this is the way he wanted it. 

 

He personally petitioned the high court of Israel to live in his own residence away from the hospital. This had never happened before. The high court granted his request. 

 

Yona was very well educated. He spoke eight languages. He was learning Arabic, so one day he could speak to the people who crippled him after they are captured. He planned to set them straight. 

 

His parents told me Yona was an optimist and an idealist who wanted peace; he was severely troubled that Jews could expel other Jews from their homes. 

 

He often told his parents that people from all walks of life got along well when they came to visit him. Many who probably wouldn’t acknowledge each other in the street came together as friends in his home.

 

Their last visit was the most special. Yona was talking about the future. He had plans to travel to the Dead Sea with his medical team for several days of R&R the following weekend. He started watching TV again, and he no longer seemed to suffer from the post traumatic fear he had constantly lived with since the bombing.

 

He came down with a fatal infection shortly after they left.
 

His mother showed me a collage of photos of all the people important in Yona’s life. There was a photo of Yona smiling, holding up high a pomelo he had just picked (looks like a large grapefruit), from a tree on Kibbutz Ein Gedi where he volunteered prior to making aliyah. She showed me a small pomelo sapling he recently had planted in the garden behind his home. He had hoped to pick another pomelo fruit from his tree one day. 

 

His parents were disappointed with the press inaccuracies of their story, but were content that the stories told about Yona put him in a good light. 

 

He loved Jerusalem more than any other place on earth. He wanted to move back, but his medical requirements made this impossible. His mother told me, “Today we took Yona home.” 

 

Yona was buried on Tuesday morning, May 31, on a hilltop with a view of all Jerusalem, with his parents and many important friends, rabbis and dignitaries in attendance. He was 38 years old. 

 

The fight is over.

No doubt that Yona is in a far better place now.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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