Hundreds gathered Friday to bury Rina Shnerb, an Israeli teenager killed in a terrorist bombing in the West Bank earlier in the day. Her father, wounded in the attack along with her brother, was unable to attend but addressed mourners by telephone from his hospital bed.
“We are trying to be strong here in the Land of Israel, the people of Israel, Rina believed in that,” said Rabbi Eitan Shnerb. “Our response to the murderers is that we are here and we are strong and we will prevail.”
Shnerb, her father Eitan and 19-year-old brother Dvir were all wounded in the explosion at a natural spring outside the Dolev settlement. Shnerb was pronounced dead from her injuries, while her father and brother were hospitalized in serious condition.
“We’re in a war of love against hate and hope against despair. We came here in order to accompany our loved one,” said Eli Weisbart, Rina’s uncle, at the funeral in her home town of Lod.
Weisbart said Rabbi Shnerb had asked him to convey a message to the funeral: He “asked us only to deal with the strength and love we have and the wonderful nation we have here in this great land of ours,” said Weisbart.
As the funeral was set to begin, Eitan Shnerb spoke by phone from his hospital bed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“With the help of God we’ll come out of this stronger,” Shnerb said.
Lod Mayor Yair Revivo noted the site where the attack occurred was named after Dani Gonen, a Lod resident who was killed in a terror shooting four years ago as they were leaving the spring.
“A charming and graceful girl who just wanted to go for a dip on a summer day with her family at the Dani Spring,” he said at the funeral.
Shnerb studied at a religious girls school in Lod and was a counselor in the Bnei Akiva youth movement, according to the Haaretz daily.
“Rina was a happy and sweet girl, pleasing and warm with good energy. The highest quality and sweetest girl there is,” Naamah Frankel, a friend of the family, told the newspaper.
According to Shmulik Shenhav, another of Rina’s uncles, Eitan Shnerb tried to provide medical treatment to his children at the scene of the attack despite being injured himself.
“Eitan, as a medic, tried to resuscitate Rina,” Shinav told reporters outside the hospital.
Shenhav said Eitan Shnerb also used his tzitzit, Jewish ritual fringes, to try to stop his son Dvir’s wounds from bleeding.
“With his tzitzit he made a tourniquet to try and stop [the bleeding] from the shrapnel in his hand,” he said.
He also managed to call for an ambulance.
Earlier this year, Eitan Shnerb was recognized by the army for helping to thwart an attack on a West Bank settlement while serving as a rabbi in an IDF reserve brigade.
While checking the “eruv,” or ritual boundary, Shnerb spotted two Palestinians outside Har Bracha and alerted the soldiers. One of the suspects was shot as they were arrested and Israeli troops found a knife and pistol on them, according to the Ynet news site.
According to the army, an improvised explosive device was used in Friday’s attack. Police sappers determined that the bomb had been planted earlier at the spring and was triggered remotely when the family approached it.
Security services were reportedly tracking a car that fled the scene shortly after the explosion. “IDF soldiers are searching the area,” the military said in a statement.
The explosion occurred at the Bubin spring — a popular hiking spot — approximately 10 kilometers east of the city of Modiin.
“Our surroundings are full of natural springs and hiking to them is an inseparable part of residents’ lives,” Yael, a resident of Dolev, told Channel 12 news. “There is a difficult feeling.”
Palestinian media reported that the IDF had begun setting up roadblocks and conducting searches in the western Ramallah area, southeast of Dolev.
Israeli military officials have warned in recent weeks of an increase in terrorist activities and violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the lead-up to next month’s Israeli elections.
Last Friday, a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into two Israeli teenage siblings, critically injuring one of them, outside the Elazar settlement in the central West Bank, just south of Jerusalem. The car rolled over after the terror attack, and when the assailant tried to emerge from it, he was shot dead by an off-duty police officer who was driving behind him.
Earlier this month, an Israeli religious seminary student, Dvir Sorek, was found stabbed to death outside the settlement of Migdal Oz. Israeli security forces tracked down the suspected killers in approximately 48 hours, arresting Palestinian cousins, Nasir Asafra, 24, and Qassem Asafra, 30, from the village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank.