‘His soul is eternal’: Funerals held for 3 victims of Jerusalem terror attack
14-year-old Asher Natan buried on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives; couple Eli and Natali Mizrahi laid to rest in Beit Shemesh
Three of the seven victims of Friday’s terror attack in Jerusalem were laid to rest late Saturday night, as Israel mourned the deaths and grappled with soaring tensions and escalating violence with the Palestinians.
The shooting outside a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Ya’akov neighborhood was the deadliest terrorist attack against Israelis in over a decade.
The youngest victim of the shooting, 14-year-old Asher Natan, was buried in the Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Natan had left home to go and meet some friends after the Shabbat meal when he was shot dead by the terrorist. When his parents heard the shooting, they went to look for their son but it was an hour before they realized he had been murdered.
“I always wanted so much for things to be good for you. Now you’re in a good place for eternity,” his father, Aharon Natan, said at the funeral.
“Asher didn’t die, he only parted from his body. His soul is eternal. The unity here is a giant embrace for us,” he said.
“I’m sorry that sometimes I hurt you and didn’t see the good in you,” he said to his son, according to the Ynet news site.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said, “He was murdered with unimaginable cruelty by a terrorist who did not stop even when he saw a pure-eyed boy.”
“No one can describe the terrible pain of parents who have to bury their son but I want to tell them — Israel will always overcome,” Lion said.
“We’ll do everything in order to not return to the terrible days when fear ruled the streets,” Lion said.
Eli and Natali Mizrahi, a married couple killed in the attack, were buried in the Derech Hachaim cemetery near the city of Beit Shemesh.
Eli’s father, Shimon, said the pair had gone outside to try and help those who had been shot during the attack, and were killed by the terrorist at point-blank range.
“I cried out for them to not go down, but they didn’t respond. They heard gunfire and went out to help,” the father said at the funeral.
Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch said, “Your hearts connected the two of you in life. Nine years together. You wanted to grow a family and teach them your ability to give.”
“Your hearts also connect you in death. Today you are teaching your ability to give to all the children of Beit Shemesh,” Bloch said.
Eli Mizrahi’s sister interrupted Likud lawmaker Nir Bakat while he was speaking at the funeral, accusing him of posturing, Army Radio reported.
“Get out of here. You’re talking like that because there are people around and there’s media. You’re putting on a show,” she told Barkat, the economy minister.
Natali Mizrahi was a veteran employee at the Hadassah Mount Scopus hospital, where she was brought after being shot on Friday night. Her death was declared immediately upon arrival, the hospital said.
The other victims of the terror attack have been identified as Rafael Ben Eliyahu, 56; Shaul Hai, 68; Irina Korolova, 59; and Ilya Sosansky, 26.
Another three people were wounded in the attack.
Hai was a sexton at a synagogue in the neighborhood, but not the one where the attack took place, according to the Kikar Shabbat news site. He was reportedly killed while heading to a Torah lesson at his synagogue.
Ben Eliyahu, a resident of the area of the attack, was survived by his wife and three children. He worked for the state-owned Israel Post.
Ben Eliyahu’s son revealed that his wife gave birth to a son hours after his father was killed.
“You and mom were supposed to come to the bris, but ultimately you were not able to hold [your grandson],” Kobi Ben Eliyahu said during the funeral in Jerusalem on Sunday. “Instead, I’m bringing you to the cemetery. You left a giant hole in our hearts.”
Another of Ben Eliyahu’s sons was seriously wounded in the attack, but his condition has since improved.
According to Hebrew media reports, Korolova, a Ukrainian citizen, worked as a caretaker.
“We share [Israel’s] pain after the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Among the victims is a [Ukrainian] woman,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “Sincere condolences to the victims’ families. The crimes were cynically committed on the [International] Holocaust Remembrance Day.”
Condolences, and condemnations for the attack, poured in from other world leaders on Friday night and Saturday.
“On behalf of all citizens of Israel, I would like to send condolences from the bottom of my heart to the families of those murdered in the heinous and terrible attack in our capital, Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
“The heart breaks,” said opposition leader Yair Lapid. “I send condolences and strength to the families at this difficult hour.”
Demonstrators protesting the government’s judicial overhaul were subdued on Saturday night due to the attacks, with a smaller turnout than the massive rallies held last week. Saturday’s events began with a minute of silence for the victims and protest organizers cut the carnival-like elements from the rallies in the wake of the attacks.
Lapid, who appeared at last week’s protest in Tel Aviv, elected to attend the Jerusalem rally, where he lit a candle in memory of the seven victims.
“I came here to Jerusalem to declare to everyone that we are one people. We are standing up against terror as one people,” Lapid said.
Friday’s Jerusalem terror attack, carried out near a synagogue during Shabbat, was the deadliest Palestinian terror attack since 2008 and ramped up tensions that were already soaring amid ongoing violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
The shooting has been followed by more violence. On Saturday morning, a 13-year-old Palestinian shot and wounded two Israelis in the capital. Later in the day, a Palestinian gunman opened fire at a West Bank restaurant, causing no injuries. On Saturday night, a security guard near a West Bank settlement shot dead an armed Palestinian in another suspected attack attempt.
The rash of attacks followed days of violence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Tensions have increased dramatically since Thursday morning, when an IDF raid in the West Bank against a terrorist cell left nine Palestinians dead — most of them gunmen and members of the cell, though at least one civilian was also killed.
The IDF said Thursday’s operation in the Jenin refugee camp was necessary to foil imminent attack plans by a local Islamic Jihad terror cell. The group had primed explosives and firearms, according to the IDF.
Thursday overnight saw rocket fire from Palestinian terror groups in Gaza and Israeli retaliatory airstrikes, although both sides appeared intent on avoiding an escalation into a full-scale war.