Mourners paid their last respects on Sunday to a municipal patrolman who was killed in a terror attack in Tel Aviv a day earlier.
Friends and family of Chen Amir, a 42-year-old married father of three, gathered at Kibbutz Re’im in southern Israel, where he was laid to rest.
His widow, Vered Assayag Amir, said their two daughters have not stopped asking when their father will come home.
“Mika said to me, ‘Mom, I know that he gave his life for us, for the people of Israel, but my heart won’t stop hurting,'” Assayag Amir recounted during her eulogy. “I told her that I feel exactly the same way.”
“You’re a national hero who sacrificed his body, our personal hero who we miss so much,” she added, according to the Ynet news site. “I want you to give me strength to raise our daughters, you left a huge crater behind.”
Amir was also eulogized by his fellow patrol officers, who cried out over his grave.
“What a good heart you have… you’re a king,” said Oz, the municipal patrolman who was on duty with Amir when he was killed and shot the gunman dead. “As soon as he shot you, I shot him. I avenged your death. Watch over me please. Watch over us. You were such a fighter.”
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis were among the mourners at Kibbutz Reim.
Opposition Labor MK Gilad Kariv tweeted that he also attended the “very sad” funeral.
“A short and pain-filled conversation with his parents was enough to understand the ground he grew up on, and from where he derived his values,” wrote Kariv.
The attack occurred Saturday evening in a bustling part of Tel Aviv. Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said the two municipal security officers approached a suspect they saw walking at the corner of the Montefiore and Nachalat Binyamin streets, where dozens of restaurants, cafes, and bars are packed on Saturday evenings.
The suspect initially refused to answer their calls, and as the pair got off their motorcycles, the Palestinian man pulled out a handgun and opened fire, hitting Amir, according to law enforcement officials.
The second officer returned fire at the gunman. Footage showed the moment the second security guard chased after him and shot him.
The terrorist, Kamel Abu Bakr, 22, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group and a resident of Rummanah — a town near Jenin — was also taken to the Ichilov Hospital where he was later declared dead.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he “praised the Tel Aviv municipality patrolmen for their vigilance and pursuit, which thwarted a much more serious attack.”
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid said that “our hearts are with the family, wife, and little daughters of Chen Amir who was murdered tonight in a terror attack in Tel Aviv… There are no words that can comfort over the loss, Chen was a hero who lost his life protecting the city’s residents.”
At a press conference Sunday morning, Amir’s wife said that he was always the first to take action to help others.
“I always knew he’d be the first to [engage an assailant],” she said. “In all the previous terrorist attacks, he was always the first to run and search and help. He has a closet full of thank you certificates. He saved lives, he saved people.”