Hundreds mourn Israeli woman slain in West Bank attack
Gil COHEN-MAGEN / AFP
Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of 28-year-old Kim Levengrond Yehezkel in central Israel on Sunday night after she and 33-year-old Ziv Hajbi were killed by a Palestinian gunman who opened fire on them in their workplace in an industrial zone in the northern West Bank earlier in the day in what the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) called a "serious terror attack."
Kim Levengrond Yehezkel was laid to rest in her hometown of Rosh HaAyin. Ziv Hajbi, 33, will be laid to rest at 2:00 p.m. on Monday in Nir Yisrael, in southern Israel
Levengrond Yehezkel had recently celebrated her third wedding anniversary and is survived by her husband, Guy, and their 18-month-old son. Hajbi was also married and father to three children.
“I promise I’ll never forget you,” her husband, Guy, said at the funeral. “We will raise our son Kai exactly as you would have wanted. You will always remain my best friend.”
“It can't be that I have to cover you in dirt, it makes no sense. My Kim, I don't want to. Where are you going, my daughter? Where?” her mother cried out at the funeral.
Her father, Rafi, said he was "sorry" he was not with Kim in her time of need.
"I didn’t manage to get there in time," he was quoted by Israeli media as saying. "I promise you that Guy and Kai will receive everything they need. I promise that I will take care of them like I always took care of you. You can rest in peace."
Friends and other family members remembered Kim as a happy girl, overflowing with goodness" who was "full of the joy of life" and "beautiful, both outside and inside."
“She was a mother in the fullest sense of the word, a proud mother who adored her son and her husband Guy. She was a happy person,” her cousin Sapir said.
Another family member described Kim's pride at seeing her son take his first steps last week.
"There was nobody happier than her. She was constantly filming him and sending the videos to everyone. Now she is no more. It is impossible to believe it and I can’t grasp that she was murdered," they said.
Communication Minister Ayoub Kara and Likud MK Oren Hazan, both friends of the family, also attended the funeral.
“It is a dark day,” Kara said. “I came to represent the government of Israel and to express solidarity with the family. I came to tell her husband and her baby, who will never again see his mother, I’m sorry. I tried to advance a law to give the death penalty to terrorists but I have not succeeded.”
On Sunday morning, Levengrond Yehezkel and Hajbi were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman identified as Ashraf Waleed Suliman Na’alwa in the offices of the Alon Group factory in the Barkan industrial zone where all three were employed.
Eyewitnesses said that Na’alwa bound Levengrond Yehezkel's hands before fatally shooting her at close range. He then shot a 54-year-old female victim in the stomach, moderately injuring her, before killing Hajbi and fleeing the scene.
Israeli security forces were continuing their hunt on Monday for Na’alwa, detaining several of his family members for questioning.
Israeli politicians including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent condolences to the victims' families and expressed outrage at the attack.
“Our security forces are in pursuit of the vile killer. I’m sure we’ll catch him and make him answer as soon as possible,” Netanyahu said.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said it was only a “matter of time” before Na’alwa would be apprehended.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, lashed out at Hamas for celebrating the deadly shooting attack by handing out candy to residents of the Gaza Strip.
“While Israel endures terrible sadness, Hamas is handing out candies and Abbas is looking after salaries. We must stop this celebration,” Bennett said in a statement, referring to the Palestinian Authority's policy of providing compensation to the families of Palestinian terrorists.
“Like every day, this morning, Ziv and Kim took their children to kindergarten and school, and went to work in the Barkan Industrial Zone. They did not imagine it would be the last time they would see their children. This morning, a cruel terrorist cut their lives short,” Bennett added.
Fellow Jewish Home Knesset member Ayelet Shaked joined Bennett in blaming Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas for encouraging terrorism.
“Mahmoud Abbas’s incitement and the Palestinian Authority permeate everywhere and encourage murder and terror. There is no use having conversations with supporters of terrorism” Shaked tweeted.
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and US ambassador David Friedman both condemned the shooting in the Barkan industrial zone, where thousands of Palestinians and an equal numbers of Jewish Israelis have worked side-by-side for decades, as an attack on coexistence.
The Barkan Industrial Zone has been a model of Israeli–Palestinian coexistence since 1982, with thousands working and prospering together. Today a terrorist shattered that harmony by brutally murdering two Israelis at work. Our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) October 7, 2018
The IDF said Sunday that Na’alwa was known to security forces but had no past terror offenses and no formal ties to terrorist groups, saying it appeared to have been a “lone-wolf attack.”
A wave of so-called "lone wolf" stabbing and shooting attacks against Israelis erupted in 2015 with near daily frequency, but they have since become sporadic.
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