Eulogizing terror victim Yotam Ovadia at funeral, ministers lay blame on PA
Tourism Minister Levin, deputy DM Ben Dahan tell hundreds of mourners Palestinian Authority will pay for incitement that led to killing of father of two at Adam settlement
Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief
A pair of Israeli lawmakers eulogizing Yotam Ovadia at his funeral Friday afternoon laid blame on the Palestinian Authority for the attack in the West Bank settlement of Adam late Thursday, in which a teenage Palestinian terrorist killed the 31-year-old father of two.
“To those who think that the Palestinian Authority is part of the solution, it is not! It is the problem!” shouted deputy defense minister Eli Ben Dahan. The Jewish Home lawmaker criticized the PA’s policy of payments to security prisoners and accused the PA of inciting Palestinian children in its schools.
“Responsibility lies with the Palestinian Authority. Those who teach hatred will pay a price,” warned Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.
“The lowly terrorist will not achieve his goal. We will continue building on our land,” the minister told the crowd of hundreds at Ovadia’s funeral in Jerusalem. He vowed to expand West Bank settlements in response to the attack.
Ovadia was stabbed to death outside his home in the community near Jerusalem on Thursday night by 17-year-old Mohammad Tareq Yousef, who came from the Palestinian village of Kobar further north in the West Bank.
Levin said relatives told him that Ovadia was on his way to prepare a romantic meal for his wife in honor of Tu B’Av, the Jewish Valentine’s Day, when he was attacked.
״You were murdered in the midst of a gesture of love,” said the minister. “This beautiful act attests to your character and the love that will continue to prevail in your home.”
“Your name means simple. And that’s what you were: Simple and kind. Why would anyone want to kill you?” asked Ovadia’s uncle Yaakov Ovadia.
Ovadia’s father-in-law lamented hearing the cries of his young grandson for his father after he was killed.
“The heart breaks at the sound of your little son calling, ‘Daddy, Daddy.’ The little boy cannot go on without you,” he said.
According to Israeli authorities, Yousef climbed over Adam’s security fence sometime before 9 p.m. He then walked deeper into the settlement, crossing a playground area, where he encountered Ovadia, and stabbed him repeatedly in the upper torso.
Ovadia later died of his wounds after being rushed to a Jerusalem hospital.
A second resident, 58, was also stabbed after arriving on the scene. He was rushed to a hospital in serious condition but it was upgraded to moderate after doctors managed to stabilize him.
A third resident, 41, had just left his home when he heard the disturbance unfolding. Yusef approached him as well and managed to stab him once before the Adam resident pulled out a gun and shot him dead. The 41-year-old Israeli was lightly injured in the encounter, but was released from the hospital shortly after receiving treatment.
The last stabbing attack in a West Bank settlement was in April 2018, when a Palestinian tried to stab an Israeli with a screwdriver near a gas station in an industrial area connected to the Maale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem.
Kobar, north of Ramallah and some 18 kilometers (11 miles) from Adam, was also home to Omar al-Abed, who carried out a similar attack in the settlement of Halamish in July 2017 in which three Israelis were killed.
The IDF said it was investigating a possible link between them, though the mayor of Kobar said he did not know of the two being connected.
Authorities were investigating reports that Yousef posted about his intentions on Facebook ahead of the attack, condemning Israeli actions in Gaza and the West Bank, and declaring that “the time has come for a great revolt.”
A Shin Bet investigation will likely focus on whether Yousef had any help in planning or carrying out the attack, and whether others knew about his plot.