Thousands Attend Funeral for Father of 10 Killed in Shooting Near Hebron

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Relatives and friends of Israeli Michael Mark, who was killed during a Palestinian shooting attack mourns during his funeral in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Otniel, July 3, 2016.
Relatives and friends of Israeli Michael Mark, who was killed during a Palestinian shooting attack mourns during his funeral in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Otniel, July 3, 2016.Credit: Baz Ratner, Reuters

Over a thousand people attended the funeral on Sunday of Michael "Miki" Mark, a father of 10 from the West Bank settlement of Otniel who was killed in a shooting attack near Hebron on Friday.

The funeral was held at the hesder yeshiva in Otniel. It will conclude with Mark's burial on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem.

The funeral was attended by President Reuven Rivlin, who revealed in his eulogy that he and Mark had been distant relatives. Also in attendance was Mossad head Yossi Cohen, a cousin of the deceased.

"I stand in front of your coffin, Miki, Michael, in sorrow and anguish, and with me stand an entire nation, together grieving," said Rivlin. "Even before the Sabbath began, the murderer's hand robbed your family of you in cold blood, in front of two of your children, and in front of your beloved wife, Havi, who was seriously injured.

"Miki, I am sorry to say that I learned about you, only after your death," continued Rivlin. "I learned that you were a loving and beloved father, grandfather and son. An intellectual who was also a man of action. A person who loved hands-on work, but also excelled in the 'house of learning'. A director who was also a guide. A pillar of the community of Otniel, and Har Hebron. A decent man. A modest man.

"Terrorism has been with us since the beginning of our national home here," Rivlin continued. "We are not afraid, we do not give up, we do not retreat. We will not loosen our hold on the ground. Our roots are deeply planted in the soil of this country.

"Jewish blood is not worthless. We promise - over Miki's grave - that we will continue to fight terror unequivocally, and without fear. We will fight, and we will win."

Orit Mark, one of Miki's daughters, also eulogized her father, saying, "God took you, my father. We have always said that our father in heaven takes the good. And you're the most amazing in the world How much you gave. How much you did. Everything we wanted we gave with all your heart."

She asked her father to pray for her mother, Chava, who was critically injured in the attack in which her father was killed. "We need you up there We all need you," she said.

Yehoshua Mark, Miki's son, said that "as the years pass, we find greater depth. More people you helped. A community of admirers. You taught us to accept the other. You were a giving man with endless time, attention and thought. A man of perception at all levels."

Rabbi Benny Kalmanson, head of the yeshiva that Mark managed, addressed President Rivlin saying, "If the government doesn't give its citizens the sense that it is protecting them, I fear that weak and unwise people will rise and use force. Weak people can do terrible things. Not everyone has the strength of the Otniel community.

"We need you to do something to prevent us from getting to that terrible point at which our nation chooses the way of terror."

One of the other yeshiva heads, Re'em Hacohen, addressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his eulogy. "A reality in which so many residents of Otniel storm the gates of heaven is untenable," he said. "The ground is shaking. It's a volcano. We can't continue as if nothing has happened."

The situation "calls for us to drop everything and to desecrate the Sabbath in order to find ways of stopping the abandonment of insecurity," Hacohen said.

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