A Glaswegian voice in the hills of Jerusalem tells the world how a young life was cut short

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The Independent Online

In the hills of Jerusalem, they buried the latest victim to be killed in a suicide bombing. Amid the Hebrew prayers came the sound of a Glaswegian voice. The body before us under an Israeli flag was Yoni Jesner, a 19-year-old from Glasgow, and his elder brother, Ari, read a eulogy over his brother's corpse.

In the hills of Jerusalem, they buried the latest victim to be killed in a suicide bombing. Amid the Hebrew prayers came the sound of a Glaswegian voice. The body before us under an Israeli flag was Yoni Jesner, a 19-year-old from Glasgow, and his elder brother, Ari, read a eulogy over his brother's corpse.

"Darling Yoni, son, grandson, nephew, cousin and most of all friend. What can we say at a time like this?" The words convey little. You had to hear the emotion in his voice, it was so intense many of the mourners broke down in tears at the graveside.

There was no special reason to mourn yet another victim of the carnage here. Yoni Jesner was a young man, killed on the threshold of life – like so many on both sides since the intifada started two years ago. He was popular, his friends turned out in droves, just as devastated friends have stood in shock at so many funerals, Israeli and Palestinian.

But this was a day when the killing and suffering reached out and touched Britain. A 19-year-old from Glasgow lay dead before us. Israel's community of British Jews, those who emigrated here, gathered at his funeral. The British ambassador was present, as were other European Union envoys.

If Yoni Jesner had stuck to his original plans, he would not have been in Israel on Thursday, when he was travelling on bus number 4 down Allenby Street in Tel Aviv and a suicide bomber got on board. He was supposed to be in London, studying to be a doctor. He came to Israel last year to spend a year studying in a yeshiva, a Jewish religious school, and decided he needed to spend another year there.

Apparently he had difficulty persuading the university to delay his medical course by a year, but insisted.

When he had qualified as a doctor, Yoni said he was going to emigrate to Israel and practise medicine. So his family decided to bury him in Jerusalem, far from the Glasgow streets where he grew up.

His family were by his bedside in Tel Aviv when he died yesterday of his injuries. Also in the hospital was his cousin and close friend Gideon Black, who was studying with him and was on the bus beside him. Mr Black is expected to survive.

And so they buried Yoni Jesner on a hillside overlooking the country he meant to come and live in.

A day before, in the West Bank town of Ramallah, they buried the body of an 11-year-old shot by an Israeli tank. Yoni was murdered by a Palestinian suicide bomber when he took a ride on a bus. A reminder that the suffering is on both sides here, suffering that is unbearable. You could hear it in Ari Jesner's voice as he spoke over the body of his brother.

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