Three Israelis Murdered During Shabbat Dinner Laid to Rest

Thousands attend funerals of Yosef Salomon, 70, and his two adult children, Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36. Yosef's wife Tova, wounded in the attack, remains in hospital

The graves of the victims of a Friday's stabbing attack, Modi'in, July 23, 2017.
Gil Cohen Magen

Some 2,000 people attended the funeral on Sunday evening of the three victims murdered in Friday night's terrorist attack in Halamish in the West Bank.

Yosef Salomon, 70, and his adult children, Chaya, a 46-year-old teacher, and Elad, 36, were buried in the municipal cemetery in Modi'in, the central Israeli city where some of their family lives. 

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Elad Salomon, who was killed in a terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish, with his wife, Michal and their children.

Just hours after the peak of the clashes on Friday between Palestinian rioters and Israeli security forces, a terrorist infiltrated Halamish and stabbed the three members of the Salomon family to death. Yosef's wife Tova, 68, was wounded in the attack.

Yosef is survived by three other grown children. Elad's wife Michal managed to hide their five children from the attacker in another room, from where she called for help.

Chaya and Elad's brother-in-law, Ran Menzely, eulogized his wife's sister at the funeral. "You didn't have a husband and children of your own, but we all know that for years you educated the girls," he said, referring to Elad's children. "Chaya, these girls are your daughters. You were like a mother to them," he said. "Chaya, you behaved courageously when, after you were stabbed, you ran with your last remaining strength to call for help from outside."

Menzely also spoke about his brother-in-law Elad: "Who will console Michal? How does one console five sweet children? Elad, you fought the accursed terrorist courageously and didn't enable him to reach Michal and the children. You are a hero, you are holy."

A number of elected officials including Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and several cabinet ministers attended the funeral. In Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was attending an event at the Mount Herzl cemetery marking the anniversary of the death of Revisionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky, also spoke about the killing of the members of the Salomon family.

"On Friday night, we were witness to a heart-rending scene of cruel terrorism, the product of unfathomable, unbridled hatred of Jews," he said. "Our pain is deep, but our roots in the country are no less deep. Terrorism will never defeat us," he said, adding: "We will continue to build our country."

The attacker, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed of the nearby West Bank village of Khobar, is believed to have acted alone. He jumped over the settlement’s fence and entered the home while the family was enjoying a festive Shabbat dinner to celebrate the birth of a grandson. An off-duty soldier who lives next door heard the shouting and noise, came running and shot the terrorist through one of the windows, seriously wounding him.

An army investigation found that al-Abed approached the settlement from his home in the town of Khobar, about two and a half kilometers away. He posted a message on Facebook hinting at his plan about an hour and 40 minutes before the attack. It took a few minutes for him to reach the house from the perimeter fence. Another 15 minutes passed before the off-duty soldier who shot him arrived.

The army is investigating how an alert from the alarm system that the terrorist enabled by touching the fence only reached the civilian guards of the settlement and not the army, whose forces only arrived after reports of the attack spread. The army raided the terrorist’s home in Khobar, arrested his brother and imposed a curfew on the town. 

The army has beefed up its forces in the West Bank with a number of regular battalions. It has also conducted arrests across the West Bank and ramped up monitoring of Palestinians using social networks in wake of multiple threats and warnings of additional attacks.