Jerusalem Terror Attack Victims Laid to Rest

President Reuven Rivlin speaks defiantly at funeral of Nehemia Lavie and Aharon Benita, calls on Jews to continue visiting Western Wall.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
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The body of Nehemia Lavie at his funeral in Jerusalem, October 4, 2015.
The body of Nehemia Lavie at his funeral in Jerusalem, October 4, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

The bodies of Nehemia Lavie, 41, and Aharon Benita, 21, who were both stabbed to death by a terrorist in Jerusalem on Saturday night were laid to rest at the Har Menuhot cemetery in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Benita, of Beitar Ilit, was returning from the Western Wall at the time of the attack. Benita's 22-year-old wife was seriously wounded in the attack, and his two-year-old son was lightly wounded. Lavie apparently emerged from his home to help the Benitas.

"You were slain, and died for your people, for your nation, for your country, for your homeland," said President Reuven Rivlin at the funeral. "You fell while keeping guard over us. The responsibility you took, your shared concern, your dedication to the well-being of others, lit your way as a student of the Torah, as a teacher, as a rabbi, as a soldier, and as a father."

"We are in a difficult, daily and ongoing struggle," added Rivlin. "Our enemies know how to hurt us, but will not defeat us. The fight against terrorism requires determination and inner fortitude. We will reach the killers of the innocent and pure, and we will reach their inciters and their dispatchers, and will deliver them a stinging blow." He called on people to continue visiting the Western Wall.

Lavie was a rabbi in Jerusalem's Ateret Yeshiva. He lived in the Old City for 23 years, in the street where he was attacked. He is survived by his parents, his wife and seven children. He was recently made a reserve officer after passing a military rabbis' course. According to eyewitness accounts, Lavie left his home to assist the Benita family.

"He was a brilliant student, armed with good deeds," Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the head of the yeshiva, said. "He was a gentle, brave man who never did anything bad to anyone his whole life, either Jew or non-Jew."

Benita, 21, belonged to the Shuva Banim community. The young family was being hosted for Shabbat by his father, one of the yeshiva rabbis, who lives in the community center adjacent to the Mea Shearim neighborhood. The family went to the Western wall in the afternoon, and when Shabbat was over, they took the shortest route back to their host, via Hagai road.

Benita's family asked not to bury their son in a military ceremony but rather a religious civilian one. Benita's wife, who awoke Sunday morning from her serious wound, settled the matter by asking that he be buried in the cemetery's civilian section. Benita's parents came to Israel for the funeral.

The terrorist, Mohannad Hallabi, 18, was shot to death by police and Border police forces. Hallabi, a resident of Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, wrote on his Facebook page a few days ago that the Palestinian people would not agree to what was happening at the al-Aqsa mosque and to hurting women who arrive there. He also wrote that the third Intifada had already broken out.

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