The funeral of an off-duty IDF soldier who was killed in a terror attack near Ramallah Thursday was held Friday at the Mount Herzl military cemetery. A thousand people gathered to pay their respects to a young husband and father who was eulogized as a natural leader.
Tuvia Yanai Weissman, 21, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Mikhmas, died of wounds sustained during a stabbing terror attack at a supermarket in the Sha’ar Binyamin Industrial Zone, located southeast of Ramallah in the West Bank. He was stabbed and critically injured while shopping with his wife Yael and four-month-old daughter Neta.
Rabbi Shmuel Natanzon, head of the premilitary academy Weissman attended at the Kfar Eldad settlement southeast of Jerusalem, eulogized Weissman as a natural leader with a “giant, contagious smile.”
“How much light you gave! You were considering going to a commander’s course or staying in your combat deployment. You knew you had it in you to be an example and a symbol. You couldn’t stand on the sidelines,” the rabbi said.
Weissman was on a week-long leave from the army when he was attacked, and so was without a firearm. But he “fought with bare hands, with all your body, with your heart,” Natanzon said.
His wife called him “a true hero of Israel,” saying that even though he was unarmed, he ran towards the attacker in an effort to stop him.
“You were endlessly giving to others. If you did’t run there [towards the attack] you wouln’t have been the Yanai that I know and fell in love with,” she Yael told the hundreds of mourners at the funeral according to Ynet news site.
“I wish you had more time with our Neta,” she said. “We had so many dreams for the future.”
“You loved Neta so dearly, i remember you took her to see the wildflowers in the desert the day before you were murdered. No enemy or any amount of hatred will ever be able to put an end to that,” Weissman’s father said.
Weissman, a soldier in the Nahal Brigade, is survived by his parents, three brothers, wife and infant daughter.
Some 1,000 attended his funeral.
In the Thursday afternoon attack, a second man, 36, was seriously wounded, but is now reported in moderate and stable condition in hospital.
Omar Rimawi and Ihad Sabah, both 14 from Beitunia near Ramallah, were identified as the two attackers. They were shot by an armed civilian who rushed to the scene after hearing screaming. Sabah died of his wounds. Rimawi remains hospitalized.
Israeli police released photographs from the supermarket showing blood splattered on the floor of an aisle stocked with laundry detergent on display near a shopping cart.
Magen David Adom paramedic Shalom Galil, who administered first aid to Weissman, said: “We found him between the aisles in the supermarket with stab wounds to his upper body. We gave him medical treatment that included stopping the bleeding, hydration and dressing [the wounds].”
Channel 10 TV reported that the attackers walked around the supermarket for about 20 minutes scoping out victims before the stabbing.
The supermarket is located in an industrial zone frequented by Israeli settlers as well as Palestinians. Several attacks have taken place there in recent months.
The outburst of Palestinian terrorism and violence, which began in September over tensions at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, sacred to both Jews and Muslims, shows no signs of abating. Israel says the violence is fueled by a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement, compounded on social media sites that glorify and encourage attacks. Palestinians say it stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule and dwindling hopes for gaining independence.
Since October 1, some 30 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in knife, gun and car-ramming attacks. More than 160 Palestinians have been killed, some 115 of them while carrying out attacks, and others during clashes and demonstrations.
News agencies contributed to this report.