The small aluminum hut in the alternative cemetery at Kibbutz Givat Brenner could barely contain the six coffins of the Oshrenko family from Rishon Letzion, who were murdered in their home on Saturday.
The coffins were lined up two by two: grandfather Edward and grandmother Ludmilla, father Dmitry and mother Tatiana, 3-year-old Revital and baby Netanel, aged just five months.
The only member of the family to survive the slaughter was Yana, Edward and Ludmilla's daughter, who was not home at the time. Yesterday, dressed in black, with dark glasses partially concealing her tear-stained face, she moaned again and again that she could not believe it; she was living in a nightmare; it was too horrible to be true.
Later, Tatiana's parents arrived. Like Yana, they seemed to have trouble deciding which coffin to mourn over first.
Hundreds of relatives, friends, acquaintances, politicians and regular patrons of the Oshrenko family's restaurant gathered around the gaping graves. The family chose Givat Brenner, a secular cemetery, because Tatiana was not Jewish. A rabbi was nevertheless brought in to say the mourner's kaddish prayer. They were buried in three rows, just as they had been laid out in the hut: Edward beside Ludmilla, Dmitry beside Tatiana, Revital beside Netanel.
Then the graves were filled in, the sound of the spades mingling with the wails of the mourners. When the job was finished, utter silence reigned for a moment. Then Arkady Yosepov, who had known the Oshrenkos for years, asked to speak.
"All our meetings with them were joyous ones," he said in Russian, his voice choked with tears. "We met at parties in their restaurant, or they invited us to go out. It is so strange for us to come to them in a situation like this."
Afterward, it was the turn of Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, one of the three ministers present - all from Yisrael Beiteinu. "I stand here, stunned and hurting, before the six coffins of a family that was, but is no more," she said. "This family immigrated to Israel 20 years ago and bore children here. But the slaughter wreaked by this base murderer's knife killed them all; not even one remains. There are no words to express our shock, and no comfort."
Even after the eulogies ended, it was long before the crowd dispersed. Instead, they lingered, covering the graves with wreaths and lighting memorial candles alongside them.
Hundreds of police dispatched to probe murder
Police continued investigating the murder on Sunday, after slapping a gag order on the case. Hundreds of detectives and investigators went out Sunday morning to the streets surrounding the scene of the murder in Rishon Letzion, questioning neighbors and trying to collect evidence to pinpoint the identity of the perpetrator.
Following the autopsies performed on Sunday morning, detectives said it seemed likely that the murderer had broke into the family's home, set the apartment on fire and locked the door from the inside in order to cover his tracks.
Investigators inspected various local businesses and collected security tapes that may indicate suspicious movement at the time of the murder.
Detectives also raided the family businesses in Rishon Letzion and Ashdod for clues into the murder.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced shock on Sunday at the "horrific" and "terrifying" murder of the Oshrenko family.
Netanyahu said at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting that he wished to express his "deep pain and shock at this terrifying murder." He asked the public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, to update him about the steps taken to "solve this horrific act."
At the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said he wished to "convey in the name of the government condolences to the whole family, and to our friend, Minister Stas Misezhnikov, a friend of the family."
Misezhnikov, a resident of Rishon Letzion, visited the apartment where the murders occurred on Sunday. He later said the family was "slaughtered like sheep."
"We have to do something quickly to restore the sense of security to the citizens of Israel," he said.
The minister added that he had spoken to the prime minister and the public security minister on the matter.
"On a personal level, it is harder for me," Misezhnikov said. "I watched this family set up a business, succeed in their new life in Israel, and I took part in their family celebrations."
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