The funeral for Dafna Meir, murdered on Sunday in the southern West Bank settlement of Otniel, was taking place on Monday morning.
A funeral procession for the mother of six, two of them foster children, began at Otniel at 9 a.m. and made its way to an 11 a.m. burial at the Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem.
As friends and family spoke about her courage in fighting off the attacker who entered her home, and her generosity as a mother of four children aged 11 to 17 and foster mother to two more under the age of 5, her own words in the weeks leading up to her death revealed a premonition of a family tragedy in the current wave of terror attacks.
In November, after the murders of Yaakov Litman and his son Netanel near Otniel, Meir shared her fears in a local news website, writing: “I have been thinking a great deal lately, thinking about why, what should be done or shouldn’t be or can’t be, how to behave, especially on the road, but not only. The fears, for my husband and children, my friends and family. The situation isn’t easy. I sometimes have a feeling of [being in a game of] Russian roulette. And I can’t sleep.”
Meir worked as a neurosurgical nurse at Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center, where she recalled seeing “very difficult sights,” the Walla news site reported.
“There is a lot of sadness in my work. I have a hard time falling asleep after shifts. I wander around dazed in the house for at least two hours,” she wrote.
And, she said, she feared for emergency medical crews from Otniel who rush out to help those who are hurt nearby.
“Maybe there are traps” waiting for the rescue teams, she worries. “It’s frightening! And when they go out, in the first minutes before they arrive, maybe they have time to think, ‘Who will I meet this time? Maybe a neighbor, a friend, a wife?’ That’s the horrible reality.”
On Sunday, with three of her children in the house, Meir wrestled with the attacker who fatally stabbed her, desperately seeking to prevent him from attacking her children.
Media reports said her daughter Renana, 17, witnessed the attack and described the terrorist to authorities.
Meir’s neighbor, right-wing activist Yehuda Glick, suggested the terrorist likely would have attacked the children if not for Meir fighting him off.
Dafna, who was herself adopted at age 13, had four children of her own with Natan, and they were foster parents to two more.
“The terrorist tried without a doubt to hurt the kids and Dafna, who was so small and short, fought him,” he told the Walla news site. “We are broken but strong.”
Security forces continued to search overnight for the suspected Palestinian terrorist in villages near Otniel.
Residents of Otniel were initially told to stay home as authorities feared the terrorist was still in the village, but the manhunt subsequently focused on nearby Palestinian villages.
Initial inquiries suggest the attacker may have been a Palestinian employed in Otniel, authorities said. Trackers found his escape path, but no evidence of his entry into the village, suggesting he had entered through the front gate.
The suspicion led local authorities to cancel all work Monday for Palestinians in Israeli settlements in the area.