Hundreds of mourners on Sunday night attended the funeral of Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, one of the two victims of a terror attack at a West Bank industrial zone earlier in the day.
Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, was buried in her hometown of Rosh Ha’ayin in central Israel.
“I promise I’ll never forget you,” said her husband, Guy. “We will raise our son Kai exactly as you would have wanted. You will always remain my best friend.”
Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi, 35, were shot dead by a Palestinian terrorist who worked with them at Alon Group, which manufactures waste management systems, at the Barkan Industrial Park near the settlement-city of Ariel. Levengrond Yehezkel was secretary to the CEO, while Hajbi worked in accounting.
“I’m sorry I was not with you. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get there in time,” her father Rafi was quoted by Hebrew media as saying at the funeral. “I promise you that Guy and Kai will receive everything they need. I promise that I will take care of them like I always took care [of you]. You can rest in peace.”
“I promised you that I’d always protect you, but today, this morning, I was unable to look after you,” her cousin Sapir said. “Your constant laughter is no more. I always wanted to be like you and to learn from you.”
Levengrond Yehezkel was the mother of an 18-month-old child.
“In the past few days, her son started to walk, and she was so excited about it,” another family member, who was not named, said at the funeral. “There was nobody happier than her. She was constantly filming him and sending the videos to everyone. Now she is no more. It is impossible to believe it and I can’t grasp that she was murdered.”
Communication Minister Ayoub Kara and Likud MK Oren Hazan, both friends of the family, also attended the funeral.
“It is a dark day,” said Kara. “I came to represent the government of Israel and to express solidarity with this dear family. I came to tell her husband and her baby who will never again see his mother: I’m sorry. I tried to advance a law to give the death penalty to terrorists but I have not succeeded.”
The families of both victims said they would donate their organs.
Hajbi’s funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Monday in the southern community of Nir Yisrael.
Throughout the day, friends and relatives of Levengrond Yehezkel arrived at her parents’ home in Rosh Ha’ayin. Kim and her husband Guy had lived in Barkan, where the attack took place, up until a year ago, when they moved into an apartment in Rosh Ha’ayin to be near Kim’s parents. Despite the relocation, Kim continued to work at Alon Group. She had studied law and was preparing for her bar exam.
The suspect, Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, a 23-year-old Palestinian man from the northern West Bank, was employed at Alon Group as an electrician. He arrived at the factory shortly before 8 a.m, armed with a locally produced Carlo-style submachine gun, according to army spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.
Inside, he tied up and shot Yehezkel dead at close range, along with Hajbi, as well as wounding a third victim, according to eyewitnesses.
He then fled the scene. Israeli security forces have launched a massive manhunt to apprehend him.
The IDF, Shin Bet security service and Israel Police, including special forces units, have deployed additional troops throughout the West Bank to locate the gunman and in order to prevent “copycat” incidents — a common phenomenon after high-profile terror attacks.
Na’alowa worked at Alon Group factory and had a legal work permit. He was acquainted with his victims, according to an IDF spokesperson.
He had been absent from work in the days before the shooting, but was still employed by the factory, a military spokesperson said, refuting earlier media reports that he had been fired.
The army said Na’alowa was from the northern West Bank village of Shuweika, near Tulkarem. According to the IDF, the suspect had no history of terrorist activities and was not tied to any terror groups, though several of them applauded his actions.
Earlier in the day, he had posted on his Facebook page that he was “waiting for [Allah].”
The businesses in the Barkan Industrial Park, located near Ariel, employ some 8,000 people, approximately half of them Israelis and the other half Palestinians.