The heartrending cries of the father of murdered 7-year-old Leon Kalantarov brought tears to the eyes of dozens of mourners attending the child's funeral yesterday. Artur and Yana Kalantarov decided their son should be buried with some of the toys he liked best, "so he can take them with him" one relative said.
Teachers from Leon's school told the parents before the ceremony: "We will not leave you. We are with you - all of Bnei Ayish is with you. You are not alone."
"A terrible disaster has befallen us," Mark Bassin, the mayor of Bnei Ayish, where the family lives, said in his eulogy. "Your child Leon has been taken from you, murdered. We mourn with you. I have no words that can comfort you. We cannot understand this horrible act. Leon's smile cries out to the high heavens."
According to the autopsy, the child was not raped. The toxicology report, which will be delivered to the police in a few days, will determine whether he was poisoned.
The post-mortem was performed by Dr. Yehuda His, chief pathologist of the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine. Pathologist Dr. Chen Kugel was also present, representing the twin men suspected of the murder.
Miki Meir, principal of the Ofek elementary school in Bnei Ayish, where Leon was in a first grade, also spoke at the funeral: "Only a week ago we celebrated your seventh birthday, your parents and your sister came to the class and brought you a giant cake and you were so happy, you had such a big smile."
"I remember how well you were coming along. You were just learning to read and you were so proud and happy about it. Your parents always sent along nice snacks, and you were always sharing with all the other children because you were so generous. Just last week at a parents' meeting, you arrived with your family and I told them how nicely you were growing up, and that you knew how to read. Today we are saying farewell to you. I only hope that justice is done," said Meir.
Earlier yesterday, President Shimon Peres said of the murder, and of that of an 8-month-old baby, Fruma Anshin, on Friday: "As a citizen of the State of Israel, I want to voice my most profound shock over the terrible murders of the innocent children Fruma and Leon. Israel's citizens woke up today to horrendous news."
Added Peres: "We cannot come to terms with these events. We should all be horrified at what happened and learn the requisite lessons so that our children can grow up in a safe environment."
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