Thousands Attend Funerals of Shooting Victims

Thousands of people came to the West Bank settlement of Beit Hagai yesterday to pay their last respects to the four people killed in Tuesday's terror attack near Hebron.

The four were Yitzhak Ames, 47, Talya Ames, 45, Kochava Even Chaim, 37, and Avishai Shindler, 24. The Ames left six children, Even Chaim left a husband and daughter and Shindler left a wife.

Mourners attending funeral, Emil Salman, Sept.1, 2010
Emil Salman

The families and friends of the victims, who were shot dead in a car, gathered around the bodies at the synagogue in Beit Hagai.

"I promise you, mother, that I'll raise my family and my siblings and take care of them," said the Ames' eldest son, Ariel. "I promise that we will all remain together. We'll get through this."

Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba eulogized the victims. "This is a great tragedy for the families, for the people of Israel and for the state," he said. "God, avenge the spilled blood of your servants."

"There is an army, which must be used," Lior continued. "The mistake is to think that an agreement can be reached with these terrorists. Every Jew wants peace, but these evildoers want to destroy us. We need to give them the right of return and return them to the countries from which they came."

The atmosphere was dignified, but conversations among those present displayed their anger. "Let them send the army to fight the terrorists instead of us," one person said.

Kochava's husband, Momi Even Chaim, lamented the loss of his wife, saying "My Kochava, my love, my partner, how will I say good-bye to you?

"I'm afraid," he continued. "I just want you to stay. Monsters, cowards, to shoot innocent civilians. Only a coward would think that shooting an innocent woman was a legitimate form of warfare.

"You and I are embarking on separate journeys. But you are not alone. You are with a group of righteous people with whom you shared a final ride," Momi added, referring to the other victims. "Thousands of angels are accompanying you, my righteous one. I remain behind with a giant hole in my heart."

Rivlin hails 'pioneering brothers'

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who participated in the funeral procession, said, "The enemy can't stand to see Israel's achievements; they can't stand seeing children playing in our streets. In the eyes of the enemy, there is no Green Line...

"You, my pioneering brothers and sisters, will take part in building the land, and this is a resounding Zionist response. Another neighborhood, another building, more life, more sanctification."

After the eulogies, the Ames' funeral procession set out for the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, while Kochava Even Chaim was buried in Ashdod. Shindler was buried in Petah Tikva's Segula cemetery, where rabbis from the yeshivas he attended eulogized him in the presence of hundreds of mourners.

"Our answer to this murder is to hold onto the Land of Israel and build Beit Hagai," said Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi ), who represented the government at Shindler's funeral. "The murderers have one purpose, to rid the Land of Israel of Jews. They don't distinguish between men, women and babies."