‘A ray of light’: President, lawmakers pay condolence visits to grieving Dee family

Defense minister updates family on hunt for terrorists who killed Lucy, Maia and Rina Dee, vows they’ll be caught; family praises efforts by visiting figures to promote unity

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

President Isaac Herzog (left) speaks with Rabbi Leo Dee (right), during a condolence visit to his family's home in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, April 13, 2023. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
President Isaac Herzog (left) speaks with Rabbi Leo Dee (right), during a condolence visit to his family's home in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, April 13, 2023. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

A range of politicians offered their condolences in person to the bereaved Dee family on Thursday at their home in Efrat, after the loss of sisters Maia and Rina, and their mother Lucy, who were shot and killed in an ambush by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank last week.

President Isaac Herzog, his wife Michal, and Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi sat down with Rabbi Leo Dee and his three surviving children Keren, Tali, and Yehuda at their home in the West Bank settlement on Thursday.

The president’s office said in a statement that the Dee family thanked him for his visit, adding that “the visit and the spirit of unity that the president leads are a ray of light.”

During his own visit, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant updated the family on the hunt for those responsible for the shooting, vowing that security forces won’t rest until they are caught, media outlets reported.

The family told Gallant that “the secret weapon of the nation of Israel is unity,” the reports said.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli told the Dee family that the Jewish world shared their pain over the loss of their loved ones, and noted that all around the world, Jews answered their call to post Israeli flags on their social media pages as a sign of unity.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (left) speaks with Rabbi Leo Dee at his family home in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, April 13, 2023. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The Dee family told Chikli to “continue to work for the unity and connection between Israel and the Diaspora.”

In another high profile visit, the family told visiting National Unity chair Benny Gantz and MK Chili Tropper to “continue to focus on promoting national unity.”

Labor MK Efrat Rayten also visited the family, and called Leo Dee “a noble man, who out of the terrible tragedy and disaster that befell his family, only asks for the unity of the nation,” in a tweet.

Thousands of mourners gathered with the Dee family for the funeral of Lucy Dee on Tuesday, less than 48 hours after they buried her two daughters Maia and Rina. The family, who immigrated from the UK nine years ago, hold dual citizenship.

National Unity chair Benny Gantz (second left) and MK Chili Tropper (third left) speak with the Dee family at their home in the West Bank settlement of Efrat. April 13, 2023. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

In last Friday’s attack, near the settlement of Hamra, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the victims’ car, causing it to crash on the highway’s shoulder. The terrorists then opened fire at the car again, killing the two sisters and critically wounding their mother.

Leo Dee was traveling in a separate car just ahead with other members of the family on a trip to Tiberias. He turned back in the wake of the attack and was present as medics arrived to treat his family.

President Isaac Herzog (right) speaks with Rabbi Leo Dee, during a condolence visit to his family’s home in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, April 13, 2023. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Lucy died of her injuries in hospital on Monday.

The Israel Defense Forces launched a manhunt for the gunmen and other suspects who fled the scene, but they remained at large as of Friday. They were thought to be hiding in the northern West Bank.

Surveillance camera footage of the attack showed the terrorists driving up to the victims’ car, with one man opening fire from the passenger seat.

From left: Lucy Dee is seen with her daughters Rina and Maia. The two sisters were shot dead in a terrorist attack in the West Bank on April 7, 2023. Their mother, critically hurt in the attack, died on April 10, 2023. (Courtesy)

The car with the gunmen then made a U-turn on the highway and fled the scene toward Nablus.

Several hours after the deadly shooting, an Arab Israeli man drove his car into a group of tourists near a promenade in Tel Aviv, killing Italian national Alessandro Parini and wounding seven others.

Tensions last week spiked with a rocket attack from Syria on Saturday night, a barrage of rockets from Lebanon on Thursday, tit-for-tat rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Israeli strikes over the past week, clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank, and a suspected Iranian drone launched from Syria last week.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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