HALAMISH, West Bank — The terrorist who killed Yosef Salomon, his son and his daughter, on Friday night knocked on the door of the Salomon home in the settlement of Halamish, and the family opened it thinking he was a guest who had come to celebrate the birth of their grandson, a neighbor said late Saturday.
The daughter, Chaya Salomon, 46, and son, Elad Salomon, 36, were named Saturday night along with their father, 70. The names were released once other family members had been notified following the end of Shabbat.
The three were killed when 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, a Palestinian from a nearby village, burst into the home armed with a large knife and began stabbing members of the family. There were apparently 10 people in the house, enjoying their Shabbat eve meal, when he entered. The gathering was a festive one, marking the birth of the new grandson.
While Abed stabbed his victims, Elad’s wife managed to rush several small children into a nearby room, hold the door shut, and call the police. Soon after, he was shot through the window and wounded by an off-duty IDF soldier who had rushed over when he heard the screams.
Yosef Salomon’s wife, Tova, 68, was seriously wounded and taken to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem where she underwent surgery on Saturday morning. When she came out, she was given the news that her husband and two of their children were dead. Yosef Salomon was survived by three other children.
Elad Salomon was a father of five who lived in the city of Elad and worked as a computer technician. Chaya, who had been living with her parents in Halamish, worked as a teacher in Lod.
Rachel Maoz, the neighbor, said she and her family have lived across the street from the Salomons for 30 years.
“Yosef and Tova were so excited about their new grandchild and had invited the whole community over to celebrate that night,” she said.
Maoz said the terrorist knocked on the door of the Salomons’ home, and they opened it assuming their first guests had arrived.
“We were planning on heading over there a few minutes later when we heard the screams,” said Maoz, 54, who had been finishing up dinner with her family at the time.
“This is our worst nightmare,” she said. Maoz pointed out that Tzila and Chaim Fogel, whose son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren were murdered in a similar attack in 2011 in the settlement of Itamar, are residents of Halamish. “There’s no distinction between what happened there and what happened here,” she said.
Halamish spokeswoman Miri Ovadia, Maoz’s daughter, said Yosef Salomon had played an integral role in the settlement. “He had a grandfather-like stature here,” she said. “He was in charge of leading Sunday morning prayers and frequently volunteered in the community’s security force.”
In a video statement to the press, Ovadia said there was “no connection” between spiraling tensions on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the attack in her community:
Maoz, who moved to Israel from Britain with her husband 30 years ago, said the settlement was still recovering from an arson attack eight months earlier in which 15 families lost their homes. “I don’t know how the community is going to react to this, but we will be strong and find a way to get through this together.”
“Last night a celebration of life turned into a bloodbath when a terrorist took the lives of Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children Haya, 46, and Elad, 36 — three innocent people sitting at their dining table,” a statement from the residents of Hamalish said.
“This is not the first time that our community has been struck by terror. Our resolve remains strong and we will continue to build a better life for our children, here in our ancestral homeland,” it said.
“We have always reached out to our neighbors in peace but the incitement and murder continues. We call upon the government of Israel to return security to our community and all of Israel immediately.”
The funeral for Yosef, Chaya and Elad Salomon will take place on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the cemetery in Modiin.