Rachel Cohen was praying at her son’s grave when a call on her mobile phone brought news that she had been awaiting for four years. An Israeli court had cleared the way for her to become a grandmother.
The legal decision is unprecedented because her son, Keivin, who was shot dead by a sniper in Gaza in 2002, never knew the woman who will become the mother of his child. She was selected by a family charity and Private Cohen’s family.
A sample of the 20-year-old soldier’s sperm was taken after his death. His parents, who left Iran for Israel when Keivin was 5, petitioned a family court in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, “to fulfil his desire to start a family” even though Private Cohen had never made an official request for such a judicial step.
Mrs Cohen said that she was acting as her son would have wished. “Every time I go to his grave and touch his cold tombstone I tell myself how wonderful it would be to hold a warm child in my arms instead,” she said. “For Keivin it was his soul’s desire to have children.”