Yiftach Ottolenghi was the son of the late Professor Michael and Ruth Ottolenghi of Jerusalem. He was born on 14th May 1971, younger brother of Yotam, who was later to become the celebrity chef and famous restauranteur. As a baby Yiftach was sickly and lost weight every day, so when he grew up to be particularly tall and sturdy, he always aroused wonder in the eyes of those around him.
Yiftach studied little and played a lot during his school days at Agron Elementary School and continued his studies at the high school next to the Hebrew University. In those days he met his girlfriend Keren, with her and with his friends he spent his precious youth. Led by Yiftach, they spent their time roaming the Jerusalem Cinematheque, having fun on the centre stage, documenting their lives in 8mm films which were shown in pubs under the slogan:
“We will have something to tell grandchildren”.
Yiftach’s best friend said: “Yiftach lived life to the fullest and also looked at how he lived with complete awareness.”
Those films demonstrated his charm and wisdom, great stage presence, talent and charisma, he was revered by his friends, loved by the girls, and also hated by them. Despite his extrovert personality, self-confidence, and sense of humour, which sometimes crossed the boundaries of kindness, he was sensitive and kept his inner world – his absolute truth – to himself.
In late July 1989, Yiftach was drafted into the Israel Defence Forces and volunteered for pilot training. After a few months, he resigned from that course and volunteered to serve in the Paratroopers. Soldiers loved him as their commander and appreciated the seriousness with which he did everything down to the last detail. In the letters he wrote he had a lot of criticism. His eyes were always open to what was going on around him, he did his duty and in command of his soldiers, everything he did was accompanied by the added value of an observant person. In the army he became more serious -his attention to detail and thoroughness always guaranteed that things were done only after verifying every last detail.
On 20th May 1992, Lieutenant Yiftach Ottolenghi was killed in a tragic shooting accident whilst on manoeuvres with the Paratroopers Brigade in the north of Israel. His senior officers were found negligent and they were removed from command
Yiftach was laid to rest in the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery Area: D. Plot: #11 Row: #8 Tomb: #3