Hundreds of people on Wednesday attended the funerals of the four residents of the West Bank settlement of Beit Hagai who were murdered in a terror attack the previous evening near Hebron.
Talya Imes, 45, and her husband Yitzhak Imes, 47, are to be buried at the Mount of Olives cemetery, while Avishai Shendler, 24, is to be buried in Petah Tikvah and Kochava Even-Haim, 37, will be buried in Ashdod.
Beit Hagai’s synagogue filled with family members during the morning hours, and as the bodies were brought in they could be heard weeping and tearing their clothes in mourning.
The Imes couple left six orphans behind, who took shelter in each others’ arms. Moriah, Avishai’s widow, was held by the women of her family.
The Imes’s son, Ariel, eulogized the couple. “Mother, father, something changed yesterday. You were a natural part of the family, and suddenly you’re not here. I can’t believe that a mother that took such good care of us is no longer here,” he said. “Come back to me, mother.”
Momi Even-Haim eulogized his wife. “How can I say goodbye to you? I only want you to stay. I don’t want you to be hurt like this. It’s cowardice to shoot a woman in a moving vehicle like that,” he said.
“I want to tell you about everyone who came, the place is full here. You probably would have hidden in the corner and said, ‘You shouldn’t have’.”
The families and friends of the victims gathered around the bodies at the synagogue in the settlement of Beit Hagai to pay their final respects. “I promise to raise my family and my siblings. I promise that we will all remain together. We’ll get through this. I’m sorry that I didn’t spend enough time with you,” said the Ames’ eldest son, one of their six children.
Kochava’s husband, Momi Even Haim, lamented the loss of his wife, saying “My Kochava, my love, my partner, how will I say goodbye 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 of the attack. “I want you to know one important thing: thousands of angels are accompanying you, my righteous one. I remain behind with a giant hole in my heart.”
Avishai Schindler’s uncle, rabbi Zvi Shalva, said “during the month of Elul we get closer to God, but he wanted you closer than the rest of us. All your acquaintances, neighbors and students felt your grace and humility.”
May G-d avenge their blood.
The Palestinian mother is a central partner in the struggle…
It is she who gave birth to the fighters, and she deserves
that we bow to her in salute and in honor.”
Those were the words of the Palestinian Authority’s Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake, when he honored a Palestinian woman by awarding her “the Shield of Resoluteness and Giving.”
The Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Karake, honors mother of 4 terrorists with PA Shield. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 28, 2010] She received this honor because she is the mother of four sons who are serving a total of 18 life sentences in Israeli prisons. They all killed Israeli civilians in terror attacks.
The Minister also “praised the Abu Hamid family as a model of willpower and of the struggle for the independence of Palestine” when he visited the family with a ministry delegation, human rights organizations and released prisoners, the official PA daily newspaper reported.
The four sons are serving life sentences for the following crimes:
Nasser Abu Hamid – 7 life sentences + 50 years – commander in Fatah’s military wing the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Ramallah. Convicted of killing seven Israeli civilians and 12 attempted murders.
Nasr Abu Hamid – 5 life sentences – Member of terror faction of Fatah, Tanzim, and convicted of involvement in two terror attacks and arms dealing.
Sharif Abu Hamid– 4 life sentences – a member in one of the brothers’ units carrying out terror attacks against civilians and soldiers. Accompanied a suicide bomber to his attack in March 2002.
Muhammad Abu Hamid – 2 life sentences + 30 years – involvement in terror attacks.
Minister Karake also chose this week to visit the home of the suicide terrorist Ayyat Al-Akhras who in 2002 entered a Jerusalem supermarket and detonated a bomb murdering two Israelis and killing herself. The minister’s visit took place on the occasion of the Palestinian “National Day for Returning the Bodies of Palestinian and Arab Shahids and MIA’s.”
The mother who received the award for having four terrorist sons was described as “Khansa of Palestine,” which is a reference to Al-Khansa, a woman from the earliest period of Islam who sent her four sons to battle and rejoiced when they all died as Martyrs. Calling the Palestinian mother by this name reinforces the message that seeking death as a Martyr is a worthy and honorable goal and that parents should proudly sacrifice their children.
Update: Footage from one of the funerals.