Thousands Turn Out in Jerusalem for Funerals of Itamar Terror Victims

Five members of Fogel family were stabbed to death on Friday night at their home on the West Bank settlement of Itamar; Vice PM eulogizes family, says the murders 'reminds us that the struggle is about our very existence.'

Thousands of Israelis turned out at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem on Sunday for the funerals of five members of the same family killed Friday night in a brutal attack in their home at the West Bank settlement of Itamar.

The Fogel family - father Udi, 37, mother Ruth, 36, 10-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad, and three-month-old Hadas - were all stabbed to death in their home. Two other children in the house at the time, were not hurt in the attack.

Fogel family funeral - Daniel Bar-On - March 13, 2011
Daniel Bar-On

The family's 12-year-old daughter, who was at a youth group event, returned home at approximately midnight but could not gain access to the house. With the help of a neighbor, they managed to open the door and discovered the bodies of the five.

Vice Premier and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon spoke during the funeral, saying the Itamar terror attack highlights an existential threat to Israel.

"This murder reminds everyone that the struggle and conflict is not about Israel's borders or about independence of a repressed nation but a struggle for our existence. Therefore, we cannot continue speaking about security while the essence is neglected – the essence which is Israel's right to its land," said Yaalon.

"Whoever gives up this right won't have security either. In this difficult hour we must rise from the rubble and do the most natural thing – continue building and developing Israel," Yaalon continued.

Fogel family
Emil Salman

Motti Fogel, brother of Udi Fogel, eulogized his younger brother but warned that his death cannot be used as a tool in a national struggle.

"All of the slogans we hear are trying to efface the simple fact that you're dead, and nothing can efface that. This funeral has to be a private affair," Fogel said, adding: "A man dies to himself, to his children. Udi, you are no a national event. You're horrible death mustn't make your life into a tool."

"Udi, my young brother, you made me wake up today at 6:15 in the morning, and you know how hard that is for me. Everything I could say would be a cliché. If I could, I'd chase out everyone who came here and whisper to you, 'Udi, let's go play soccer.'"

Tzila, Udi's mother, also addressed the funeral crowd, saying: "We shall try to be strong, to strengthen the children and each other."

"They are martyrs murdered by vicious animals. We shall neither forger or forgive. Another victim and another victim, and everyone continues with their daily lives," Fogel said, adding: "When will the people rise up and tell the government: 'enough'? When will repay our enemies?"

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger also spoke during the funeral saying, "These murderers did not succeed in breaking us, they succeeded in uniting us. Today there is not left or right, there is no person that can remain apathetic."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting relatives of the victims of the Itamar terror attack following the funeral, said security forces were doing their utmost to locate the perpetrator's of Friday's attacks, referring to the cabinet's decision to approve new West Bank homes by saying: "They shoot, and we build."

"They say Eretz Yisrael is built in suffering, but we never thought the suffering would be so great," the premier said, adding that Friday's "criminal act prompted us all to come here and say 'enough.'"

The prime minister said that security forces "were doing their best to detain the murderers," adding: "These arent people, their monsters."

Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that Palestinian Authority incitement against Israel was instrumental in causing the attack.

"We bare witness to horrific things," Netanyahu said. "A soccer game will soon be named after a suicide bomber who murdered dozens of people on Yafo Street in Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority grants scholarships to the families of murderers and names squares in their honor. This does not show the PA is educating toward peace."