Dafna Meir, the Israeli mother of six who was stabbed to death at her home in the West Bank settlement of Otniel on Sunday, was buried on Monday in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem. Hundreds of mourners joined the funeral cortege that began in her home town of Otniel Monday morning.
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"She was a nurse not only in profession but in heart and spirit," said her friend Efrat Dahan.
Meir's colleague, Prof. Yohanan Pfizer, added: "Dafna was occupied in saving lives, and her own life was taken in front of her children."
Meir, 39, tried to fight off the attacker but was killed at the entrance to her home in Otniel, south Hebron. Three of her children were home at the time, but were not injured. The attacker fled and the search for him continues. Army sources said Sunday that the assailant probably fled to the nearby Palestinian village of Khirbet Karameh, in the south Hebron hills.
An Otniel resident who was near the attack said, “I sat a few dozen meters from the home. I heard a scream. I didn’t understand what was happening. I saw [the terrorist] running, within two to three seconds he was down below. At first I didn’t understand what was happening I didn’t see his face at all."
Meir leaves behind her husband Nathan and six children, aged 17 to six, of which the youngest, aged four and six, are foster children. The couple had lived in Otniel since their marriage. Meir was a nurse specializing in the halakhic aspects of gynecological healthcare. She ran clinics in Otniel and Be'er Sheva, worked as a nurse in the Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva, and wrote a blog on women's issues.
Dahan described moving to Otniel and meeting Meir four years ago: "I was sitting in the playground and we began talking about the most personal subjects. I liked it so much that we became good friends, immediately and forever," Dahan said in her eulogy. "It was possible to talk about anything with you. You knew so much."
Avigail Rosenberg, another friend, sobbed, "How does one eulogize a friend? You didn't cut corners. Every meeting between us was a basis for laughter and humor. You shared your life with us, openly."
"The loathsome terrorist who murdered Dafna Meir, who was bringing up six children together with her husband, will be caught," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed this morning. "I want to send my condolences to Nathan and the children, to the entire family. The entire People of Israel mourns with you. I talked last night with Yohai Damari, the head of the council, and asked him to strengthen the residents. I told him we will strengthen the towns. We will implement the law against anybody who tries to hurt us. Ultimately, we will find him and he will pay the price in full."
Speaking Sunday, Yohai Damari, the head of the Hebron Hills Regional Council, said, "Otniel has seen these kinds of incidents. Otniel is in deep mourning and is prepared for the coming ones. We will only grow from this despicable murder. Nothing will stop us."