'Shame on You': Minister Heckled at Funeral of Be'er Sheva Terrorism Victim

Doris Yahbas, Menachem Yechezkel, Moshe Kravitzky and Laura Yitzhak, who were killed in the stabbing attack in southern Israel, are laid to rest

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Israeli police inspect the scene of an attack at a shopping center in the southern city of Be'er Sheva, on Tuesday.
Israeli police inspect the scene of an attack at a shopping center in the southern city of Be'er Sheva, on Tuesday.Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI - AFP

Israel's police minister was met with opposition at the Wednesday funeral of one of the four Israelis who were murdered in a stabbing attack in the country's south the day before.

Doris Yahbas, 49, was laid to rest in her Western Negev community of Moshav Gilat, and Menachem Yechezkel, 67, Laura Yitzhak, 43, and Rabbi Moshe Kravitzky, 50, in their city of Be’er Sheva, where the attack took place.

At Yahbas's funeral, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev told the crowd that the assailant, who is dead, will be brought to justice. "We will not rest until this terrorist criminal arrives in prison and is judged with the full severity of the law," Bar-Lev said of Mohammed Abu al-Kiyan, who was shot at the scene of his murder spree by civilians. 

Clockwise from right: Laura Yitzhak, Doris Yahbas, Rabbi Moshe Kravitzky and Menachem Yechezkel.Credit: Curtsy of the families

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Some attendees shouted "Shame on you," and told him to "go home and leave Abbas's government," referring to the United Arab List party chairman. 

At a meeting of the ministerial committee to combat violence and crime in the Arab community, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised the two civilians who shot the assailant in the attack, "who acted with quick wits and courage and simply saved lives." 

He added, "They deserve a medal, nothing short of a medal" for their response. "This is how every Israeli should act when faced with a terror attack." 

Al-Kiyan, who hailed from the Bedouin town of Hura near Be’er Sheva, began the killing spree at 4:10 P.M., approaching a shopping center while driving his car. He claimed his first victim, Kravitzky, who was riding a bicycle, by driving wildly and running him over.

Kravitzky was a representative of the Chabad ultra-Orthodox movement in the city, where he ran a soup kitchen. “He was unusually dedicated and showed everyone respect,” said Chabad Rabbi Sholom Duchman.

The director of the Chabad Center of Be’er Sheva, Rabbi Schneur Gorelik, told Haaretz that Kravitzky, a father of four, joined Chabad 16 years ago and over the past 10 years had been overseeing Chabad’s activities in Be’er Sheva’s Nahal Beka neighborhood.

“He was the mainstay of all of the activity in the neighborhood. He was very devoted, caring, looking after everyone.” Gorelik said, “He will be remembered as a man of dedication and giving.”

After running over Kravitzky, Abu al-Kiyan drove to a gas station on nearby Route 60, got out of his car, and repeatedly stabbed Laura Yitzhak. Yitzhak’s brother, who is a Be’er Sheva police officer, was on the way to the scene of the attacks when he learned that his sister had been killed. Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai expressed his condolences to the brother on Tuesday evening and promised that the police would provide its full support to his family.

The victim’s brother-in-law, Zvika Yitzhak, called her “an amazing woman, a really exemplary mom, a friend in every sense, a sister, a sister-in-law, a daughter-in-law.”

After killing Laura Yitzhak, Abu al-Kiyan drove at high speed to the One Plaza shopping center, where he again got out of his car again and stabbed three women. One of them, Doris Yahbas, died of her wounds. The other two were seriously injured.

Magen David Adom medical service paramedic Yisrael Uzan, who is Yahbas’ nephew, was dispatched to the scene to treat the victims and discovered that one of them was his aunt. “I was among the first to reach the scene and approached to treat an unconscious injured woman,” he recounted. “While treating her, I saw that she was my aunt, my mother’s sister. She had no signs of life and we had to pronounce her dead.”

One of the injured women was Hila Avisror of the southern town of Dimona, who had celebrated her 43rd birthday with her husband at a restaurant at the shopping center. Avisror’s brother, Avi Uzan later recounted that her husband was waiting for her in their car.

"She saw the terrorist arrive in a car and get out and run and stab her – two stabs in the back,” he said. “She managed to run away from him. She got into her [own car] and shouted to her husband to drive away because there was a terrorist attack.”

At that point, Abu al-Kiyan return to his car and drove against traffic until he collided with a car in a traffic circle. He then got out of his car and repeatedly stabbed Menachem Yechezkel, another fatality in the series of attacks.

Eight minutes into the killing spree, Arthur Haimov, a bus driver who was in the vicinity, approached Abu al-Kiyan with a firearm. Haimov repeatedly called on him to drop his knife. When the assailant then attempted to attack Haimov, the bus driver shot him once. Another bystander then shot him twice more until he was dead.

Two of Abu al-Kiyan’s brothers were detained, and the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court extended their detention by a week to 9 days. They were arrested on suspicion of failing to prevent a terrorist attack.

Police believe that the brothers saw Mohammed Abu al-Kiyan leave home with a knife but didn’t attempt to stop him or report it to the police. At the request of security officials, the brothers are not being allowed to meet with a lawyer.

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