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Hundreds attend funeral of slain Rabbi calling for ‘revenge’

Israelis carry the body of Raziel Shevah during his funeral in Havat Gilad, Jan 2018
AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov
'We will extinguish that hope by building families and building communities' Bennett said at Raziel's funeral

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of Rabbi Raziel Shevach on Wednesday and called for retribution, following the shooting attack the previous evening in the northern West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett who delivered a eulogy at Shevach’s funeral, which was held in Havat Gilat at the Rabbi’s widows request, was interrupted by the attendees with repeated calls for “revenge” to which he responded, “the only revenge is to keep building”, reported The Times of Israel.

“Our enemies think that they can make us desert the land. Their terror stems from the hope that if they kill one more Jew or throw one more rock, that we will break in the end,” he continued. “We will extinguish that hope by building families and building communities.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinian authorities of "funding and incentivising murder", insisting they "communicate to their people: kill an Israeli and be rich".

Father of six 35-year-old Shevach, was gunned down on Tuesday whilst driving on Route 60 that crosses the West Bank from North to South. Local settlers have since urged Netanyahu to permit more Israeli construction in the area.

Samaria Rabbi Elyakim Levanon in his funeral remarks honoured the slain Rabbi and said “our dear, Raziel, we are at war and you are our sacrifice. A war of light against dark.”

Echoing Bennet’s calls he added that, it was now time for Netanyahu to revise his settlement policy so that, “not every meter of building will be a debate.”

Whilst head of Samaria Regional Council Yossi Dagan called on the the government to, “restore national pride” through its recognition of Havat Gilad as an official settlement, The Times of Israel wrote.

Earlier on Wednesday ahead of the funeral, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said he had given orders to recognize Havat Gilad as a legal settlement.

“I instructed to examine the arrangement of Havat Gilad outpost and its transformation into a permanent settlement in Judea and Samaria," Lieberman said.

Havat Gilad is an illegal outpost that is home to some 50 families and was established in 2002 in honor of Gilad Zar, the security coordinator of the Shomron Regional Council who was shot dead in the northern West Bank one year prior.

Israel's other top ministers reiterated Liberman's calls for legitimizing the illegal settlement, though Israeli settlements in the West Bank are seen as illegal under international law and major obstacles to peace, since they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked tweeted that Israel will not remain silent in the wake of the rabbi’s killing and urged Israel to approve the building.

In order to alter the status of the outpost, it would require the cabinet to formally agree to the establishment of a new settlement and would depend on authorities consenting alongside the issuing of building permits.

Past attempts by Israeli authorities to evacuate Havat Gilad have led to clashes with settlers there. Some 50 families currently live in the outpost.

Following various overnight missions and searches in the "Shomron" regional brigade in attempts to track down the assailant, the villages surrounding Nablus have been sealed off, and the IDF performed heightened security checks for traffic coming through the West Bank villages.

"Entrances and exits to and from the villages surrounding Nablus will be possible only after security checks," the military said in a statement.

"The review of the incident is ongoing. Based on situation assessments, it was decided to reinforce the area with additional forces."

"Security forces will do everything within their power to catch the despicable murderer and the State of Israel will bring him to justice," Netanyahu said in response to the killing on Tues.

(Staff with Agencies)


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