A memorial ceremony was held at Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday morning for Taylor Force, an American tourist killed in a terrorist attack in Jaffa earlier in the week.
The ceremony was held before Force's body was repatriated to the U.S., and was attended by Deputy U.S. Ambassador William Grant and former Knesset Member Dov Lipman, as well as a few U.S. military officers and some of Force's friends.
Force, a 29-year-old MBA student at Vanderbilt University and a former U.S. Army officer, was knifed to death on Tuesday when a Palestinian terrorist went on a rampage on the promenade in Jaffa. Eleven others were injured before the assailant was shot dead. Force was visiting Israel as part of a faculty-led trip organized for MBA students.
David Simpkins, a friend and former West Point classmate, eulogized Force, saying he was "a perfect example of a U.S. Army officer: He was humble, optimistic, hard-working, handsome, and he genuinely loved everyone regardless of their race, religion and creed."
"Taylor was possibly the only person I knew who had no personal enemies," he added.
Grant, the deputy ambassador, said that Force's death "forms an additional bond" between Israelis and Americans.
According to Israeli news site Ynet, a message from Force's family was read out during Friday's ceremony.
"Please pass on our profound appreciation to the people and government of Israel for being so compassionate and considerate during the worst time in our lives," the message said. "Taylor was our entire world, and knowing that Israel mourns with us is comforting."
Lipman, who reportedly organized the ceremony, expressed hope in a Facebook post that Force's family would be "comforted by the collective hug from the people of Israel and may his memory be a source of blessing for all."
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