Thousands attended the funeral yesterday of Haifa police chief, Brigadier-General Ahuva Tomer, who was critically wounded during the first hours of the Carmel forest fire and died yesterday of her wounds. Tomer, who served in her last post in the rank of commander, was promoted to brigadier-general after her death. Her coffin was carried by six fellow police brigadier-generals.
Tomer was injured on Thursday when driving behind a bus full of prison guards that burned up in flames.
Many of the mourners were active police officers from across the country. Among those in attendance were Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Police Commissioner David Cohen, senior command officers from police national headquarters and the northern district, officers from the navy, where Tomer had done her military service, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, and Archbishop Elias Shakur, head of Israel's Catholic community .
Tomer's husband, Danny Rosen, her brother and her elderly mother Riva were present, as Rosen praised his late wife's heroism. "It will be very difficult without her," he said. "We've lost a great woman. I'm not used to speaking about Ahuva in the past tense. She was the first to run into the fire. Not everyone would have done what she has done."
The police rabbi said that since it is not customary to deliver eulogies on Hannukah, he would instead part from Tomer with the prayer "Ana Be'koach" ("Please, With Might"). It was a prayer that held a special place in the heart of the late officer, who used the melody as the ringtone on her cell phone.
Cohen, the police chief, eulogized Tomer, saying that "in those flames reflected the value of protecting human life."
Cohen described Tomer as "a strong woman" who grew up within the ranks of the police, serving 29 years in the force. "A presence that could not be ignored, a natural leader," he said. "Even after her injury, she proved how much of a commander she was in her very essence: She didn't depart from us until she was sure the flames had been put out." "You, Ahuva, our steady rock, only the forces of nature could defeat you. Your inner flame was consumed by the blaze and left us all reeling with sorrow. The northern district and the entire police lost a commander and a friend." Mayor Yona Yahav called Tomer "the embodiment of the police." "There was so much love along with your assertiveness," Yahav said. "The uniform was greatly respected when you wore it." Tomer's deputy at the Haifa police, Chief Superintendent Ettie Meirson, lauded Tomer as a vaunted commander. "You were an example to the officers and you've done everything for them," she said. "You've set up a high operational bar and you've fought to express positions and opinions." Meirson told the mourners of the women in command of the Haifa police, and recalled: "Two women together, you used to say. We'll manage to win and we'll show the world. But you left me on my own."
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