Hundreds Attend Funeral of Israeli Killed in Jerusalem Stabbing Attack

'Only from the courage of the people living in Zion will no one move us, from this courage we derive the strength of the soul to move on and to advance,' says MK Uri Ariel at the funeral

The funeral of Adiel Coleman, Kochav Hashachar settlement, West Bank, Israel, March 19, 2018
Emil Selman

Hundreds attended the funeral of Adiel Coleman, a married father of four children from the West Bank settlement of Kochav Hashachar, who was stabbed in an attack in Jerusalem's Old City and succumbed to his wounds Sunday night. Coleman was laid to rest in the cemetery of Kochav Hashachar on Monday.

MK Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) spoke at the funeral where he addressed the crowd.

Adiel Coleman

"Only from the courage of the people living in Zion will no one move us, from this courage we derive the strength of the soul to move on and to advance," Ariel said, adding that "we hope that we will succeed in promoting construction in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria and make a clear decision.... there will be only one sovereign state, the State of Israel, this land of ours, we received from the Holy One...." 

Before the funeral, the mother of Adiel Coleman spoke on Army Radio  and shared that she had already parted with her son, even before his death was announced.

"I could already feel it yesterday that he wasn't with us," Yael Coleman said. "I told my other children: we choose life. We will continue in all the regions of the Land of Israel, from the Golan to the Gaza coast. We will remain in the Land of Israel," she added.

Adiel Coleman (third from the right) working in the City of David excavation site
Edina Graham, City of David archive

Coleman was seriously wounded Sunday afternoon when the assailant, 28-year-old Abed al-Rahman Bani Fadel, from the West Bank village of Aqraba, stabbed the victim in his upper body on Haggay St., near the entrance to the Temple Mount. 

According to eyewitnesses, Coleman, a security guard who was unarmed and not on duty at the time of the attack, tried to fend off the assailant until police forces in the area arrived at the scene.

Security forces then shot Bani Fadel, who died of his wounds. Coleman was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in serious condition, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Coleman, who grew up in Keshet, a settlement in the Golan Heights, lived in Kochav Hashachar and studied special education. In recent years he worked in the excavations of the City of David archeological site. His mother told Army Radio that her son was building scaffolding there "for the purpose of preparing the Temple."

"I am calling out to the people of Israel – we are the generation of salvation, but we need patience," she added.

In a statement delivered on Monday, President Reuven Rivlin said "four orphans joined the family of bereavement, and the pain is hard to bear."

Rivlin called the stabbing "heinous," adding that the "terror in our capital Jerusalem's streets, where Jews and Arabs have lived for hundreds of years, is a great calamity for all its residents, and we will not allow it to become a constant reality. We will fight it to the end, and we will prevail."

He added that he and his wife, Nechama, embraced Coleman's family, and sent them strength for a journey of life without him.

David M. Friedman, the United States ambassador to Israel, called Coleman's death a "tragedy" and condemned the Palestinian Authority's silence over the murder.

On Twitter, Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay wrote "another evening in which a man makes his way home from work to the train and is stabbed to death by a vile terrorist. A painful morning in which a woman awakens a widow and four children wake up to reality without a father."

Gabbay expressed solidarity with the family's grief and commended the officer who "neutralized" the terrorist at the scene.

Coleman's childhood friend told Haaretz that "he [Coleman] really was notable and special in his connection to this land. In his connection to every spring, every water reservoir, every track. His connection, that connected all of his friends as well." 

Mordechai Shwartz said that the school they attended represented students from around the country.

"We were a really diversified gang," Shwartz said, adding "Adiel somehow connected with everyone. You couldn't define who his best friend was, because he was just connected to everyone. That big heart of his, I think, manifested itself in recent years with his profession. He studied special education, it really jelled with his personality and his way into peoples' hearts, and the great love he had within him."

Earlier Monday, the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson stated that the Samaria Regional Brigade, together with the Shin Bet security service and the Border Police, carried out an engineering mapping for the demolition of Bani Fadel's house in the West Bank village of Arqaba, and interrogated his family members. 

The Israeli army also announced that 15 suspects had been arrested overnight in the West Bank. 

Local residents told Haaretz that he was an introverted man who worked in a warehouse. His brother and uncle are part of Hamas' leadership in the West Bank, though he was not considered to be an active member in the organization.

The Israeli military said Bani Fadel had no background of security offenses, and he was not on the radar of the Shin Bet security service or Israel Police. He had a five-day permit to enter Israel, which began Sunday, to find work.