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At road rage victim’s funeral, Ben Gvir says strong police needed; suspect confesses

Far-right lawmaker, set to become police minister, vows to act against street violence; widow who was present during the incident laments, ‘I should have gone instead’

Head of the Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir, left, speaks with Lena Volkov, widow of Yuri who was stabbed to death during a road rage incident, seen at the Holon cemetery on November 27, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Head of the Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir, left, speaks with Lena Volkov, widow of Yuri who was stabbed to death during a road rage incident, seen at the Holon cemetery on November 27, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Hundreds of people took part in Sunday’s funeral for Yuri Volkov, killed last week by a scooter rider during a dispute at a Holon crosswalk.

Among those in attendance was far-right politician Itamar Ben Gvir, who is set to become police minister when a new government is sworn in.

Ben Gvir, who campaigned partially on a law and order platform, vowed to clamp down on street violence and hinted that weak police enforcement was partly to blame.

Volkov, 52, was stabbed in the chest on Wednesday evening after a brief confrontation with a scooter rider who had endangered Volkov and his wife as they crossed a road. The suspect, arrested a day after the killing, was named as 23-year-old Adi Mizrahi. On Sunday evening he confessed to killing Volkov and expressed regret for his actions, Hebew media reported.

Ben Gvir told Volkov’s family during the funeral at a Holon cemetery: “The violence, vandalism and bullying that injured you injured us all.”

Ben Gvir said he attended the ceremony to tell Volkov’s family that “with God’s help, when I become [police minister] I will do everything to make this violence stop.”

He blamed the violence on poor education, Israel’s “driving culture” and the police, “who need to be a very strong police force, acting against these damned people.”

Yuri Volkov (Courtesy)

Volkov is survived by his wife, three children and a granddaughter.

Yuri’s widow Lena Volkov, lamented: “I feel guilty, I should have gone instead.”

Ben Gvir told her, “No, you have three children who need you,” Kan news reported.

“You were an inseparable part of us,” Yuri’s daughter Daria said to her father. “We still can’t believe that you are going down into the cold ground and you won’t come back home.

“We can’t believe that that terrible person made a hole in all of our hearts, a hole that will never be filled,” she said.

Volkov was a healthcare aide at Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv, where his wife also worked.

Ichilov CEO Roni Gamzu said that of the many workers at the hospital, he was personally acquainted with Yuri Volkov.

“It is not rational that a man living his life, searching for an apartment… walks around in Holon, Bat Yam, or anywhere else in the country and is met with such violence,” Gamzu said.

Adi Mizrahi, suspected of stabbing Yuri Volkov to death in Holon. arrives at Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, November 25, 2022 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

In confessing to killing Volkov, Mizrahi told investigators “I am sorry for what happened, I don’t know what came over me in those moments,” Channel 12 reported.

“I did something that shouldn’t be done, I will regret it my whole life,” he said according to the unsourced report.

The confession will enable police to charge Mizrahi as until now the alleged murder weapon has not been found and Lena Volkov was not able to identify the suspect as he was wearing a crash helmet during the encounter, the network said.

Volkov’s daughter Daria told Channel 13 that the development “is the only thing that will give us a little joy on this terrible day.”

“We are happy that he confessed to the murder and we expect and hope that the same scum will go to prison for the rest of his life and rot there,” she said.

Mizrahi is suspected of trying to cover his tracks by switching scooters after the stabbing and then trying to hide the one he had been riding at the time with the assistance of an accomplice, according to Hebrew media reports. The second man has also been arrested.

Kan reported that police obtained voice messages from Mizrahi to the man in which he admitted to killing Volkov. He also sent a text message via WhatsApp that was later deleted, but investigators are trying to restore the data. The second man has confessed to police that Mizrahi told him he had killed a man and asked for his help in evading justice, the report said.

In dashcam footage of the incident taken from a nearby car, Lena can be seen crossing the street while the crosswalk light appears to be green. The man on the moped attempts to cut her off as she crosses, whereupon Yuri Volkov begins a verbal argument.

The suspect then appears to swipe at Volkov with something before quickly driving away. Volkov walks off the road and appears to talk to his wife for a bit, then drops to the ground.

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