Two Israelis Killed in Shooting Attack Laid to Rest

Israeli Border Police officers Yazan Falah and Shirel Abukarat, both aged 19, were killed in Sunday's shooting attack in Hadera

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Israeli Border Police officers carry the coffin of Druze officer Yazan Falah, Israel, Monday.
Israeli Border Police officers carry the coffin of Druze officer Yazan Falah, Israel, Monday.Credit: Ariel Schalit /AP
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Two Border Police officers killed in Sunday's terror attack in central Israel, Yazan Falah of Kisra-Sumei and Shirel Abukarat of Netanya, both 19, were laid to rest on Monday.

About 2,000 attended the funeral of Yazan Falah in his hometown of Kisra-Sumei in the upper Galilee, just hours before Shirel Abukarat's funeral in Netanya.

Falah and Abukarat were killed on Sunday in a shooting attack in the central Israeli city of Hadera, in the second deadly attack within days.

The funeral of Border Police officer Yazan Falah, Monday, northern Israel. Credit: Ariel Schalit/אי־פי

The two assailants, who police said were Israeli Arab, were shot dead by undercover officers operating at the scene. One of the attackers was Ibrahim Agbarieh, who tried to join ISIS.

Abukarat's mother, Deborah, shouted over her daughter's grave during the funeral, "My Shirel, wake up. How did I not protect you Shirel? My daughter, I want you."

Deputy Commander of the Judea and Samaria Border Police, Roni Fares, said that Abukarat was set to begin her training to become a squad commander this week.

"Your journey was so short, a short and meaningful journey, a journey full of challenges that you were able to overcome. A girl full of joy for life with great aspirations, a trait that characterizes great leadership," he said.

Shirel Abukarat (left) and Yazan Falah.

Paying her tribute, her cousin Terry said, "You were so special. You had such a heart. You were so strong. You would bring our hearts endless happiness just seeing you. Our hero, you were taken so cruelly and suddenly."

The spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, Mowafaq Tarif, spoke at Falah's funeral: "The entire Druze community mourns Yazan's death. Yazan was nurtured in a home with values which sent many more [before him] to serve in the security and justice forces. He was not educated to hate others, but to love and value all human life."

"The Druze community in the country has paid and is paying a very high price within the Israeli system, while at the same time fighting for its home – to establish a home with dignity," Tarif said.

Referring to the controversial approval of plans to build new Bedouin communities in the Negev, he called on government representatives to move forward with the plans and to do the same for those who wish to build in Druze communities throughout the country. He added that the "vile murderers have harmed the country and entire community, but do not be dragged into it. They and their supporters must be condemned, and we, Arabs and Jews, must work together with the general public in Israel, for coexistence in this land. To live for this land and to die for it."

Falah’s uncle, Amal Falah, told Haaretz that his nephew is survived by a twin sister and an older sister. “He received his draft notice and wasn't required to serve in a combat position, but he convinced his parents that that was his wish. He was proud of serving, and in uniform, and in what he was doing,” he said on Monday.

“Yazan wanted to serve in the Border Police and was insistent to serve there. He wanted to follow in the path of his uncles who had served there. He never complained. Even though he was sick yesterday [Sunday] and his mother begged him to get [medical] care, he insisted on returning [to the force]. He said, ‘I’m going back. At worst, I’ll get medical care later at the unit,’” he said, adding that his family is devastated.

Another uncle, Louie Falah, said his nephew was a smiling and funny person who had an amazing voice. “He would sing to us every weekend when we would meet. He was quiet. Always aspired high. What can I say? We lost a flower. We lost that smile,” the uncle lamented. “It’s hard to describe his mother’s state. I hope that we manage to give her strength.”

Netanya Mayor Miriam Fierberg said of Abukarat’s death, “It’s just a horrible tragedy.” Fierberg said that she spoke to Abukarat’s mother following her daughter’s death and that she had told Fierberg that her daughter only wanted to serve in the Border Police unit.

Alluding to the family’s decision to move to Israel from France, the mother told the mayor, “I wanted my children to grow up with a sense of security, that they not feel persecuted. … I ran away from there because of that. I came here. And the result …”

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