Bont, Yaakov (Yankele)
Son of Klara and Menachem, was born on September 9, 1927 in the city of Malinin, Belgium. Where he attended a religious elementary school. The Nazi invasion of Belgium in 1940 led him and his parents and sister to a village and then to a town in southern France, where the Nazi boot had not yet arrived. Where they lived for three years in relative calm. The father worked in agriculture and the children attended school. And there, in the alien surroundings, Jacob came to Bar Mitzvah. When the Vichy government forbade Jews to live in cities and towns, the family moved to the village and lived there in secret. When the Germans occupied southern France and took control of that area, the family dispersed and fled from there. Jacob went out to the forests and joined the partisans. After the Germans’ annihilation, the family reunited and Yaakov went to the hachshara. In 1945 the family arrived in Israel and settled in Ra’anana. Jacob quickly became involved in the life of the land and was very devoted to his family. As an observant Jew, he joined the Bnei Akiva youth movement and was active in it. From the beginning of the War of Independence, he volunteered for the Alexandroni Brigade and joined a sabotage unit composed of members of the Hagash and veteran IDF commanders. When I was told about the special danger of this service, he replied: “I knew, but if I had to fight, my position would be good for Israeli youth.” During his sabotage course he volunteered to join the participants in conquering Hiriya and Salameh, saying that the theory should be completed by practice. At first he was given only the dirty work of carrying the explosives. Only after repeated demands was he allowed to participate in the operations themselves, and he was very Simcha when he managed to penetrate a fire-meter into the house and blow it up. Since then he has participated in every combat operation: the conquest of Arab Kfar Saba, the planting of mines in the enemy’s rear, and dozens of sabotage raids across enemy lines. With the entry of the Arab Legion into the fighting, Jerusalem’s situation worsened and the road to it was cut off by the enemy in Latrun. The “son of-Nun A” operation was carried out and its battalion was ordered to conquer Latrun on the night of May 24-25, 1948. Before arriving at the destination, his company encountered better enemy forces. Many of the battalion’s fighters, including Yaakov, fell on the day of the fifteenth of Iyar 5708 (May 25, 1948). On the 17th of Cheshvan 5710 (17.11.1949) he was transferred to the eternal military cemetery at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.