Hundreds of mourners gathered at Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives cemetery Wednesday night for the funeral of a newborn who was delivered prematurely after his mother was shot in a terror attack outside the Ofra settlement earlier this week.
The infant, born after Sunday’s shooting by emergency C-section, was pronounced dead earlier in the day by doctors at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem after several days in intensive care.
The funeral took place as Israeli forces raided a Palestinian village and arrested a suspects in the terror attack, which left seven people injured, including the baby’s parents. Hours earlier Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders angrily vowed the military would catch the killers.
Some 300 hundred people crowded around the fresh gravesite on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City, using umbrellas to shield the baby’s tiny body, wrapped in a prayer shawl and smaller than a shoe box, from the steadily falling rain.
Barely able to speak between sobs, grandfather Refael Ish-Ran said despite the baby boy’s short life, few people had “managed to unite the nation of Israel” like he had.
“You brought so much light. And with all the light that you brought, we will extinguish their darkness,” he said in his eulogy.
The baby’s parents, Shira and Amichai Ish-Ran, were both recovering from gunshot wounds at the hospital and unable to attend the funeral. Shira, who was 30 weeks pregnant at the time of the shooting, was seriously wounded in the shooting, but doctors said Wednesday her condition was improving.
Shortly before the burial, the baby underwent a symbolic circumcision and was named Amiad Yisrael. The parents had only been able to visit the baby on Wednesday morning.
During his eulogy, Refael Ish-Ran said the name Amiad — which includes in it the Hebrew word for “eternal” — was chosen to signify that despite the baby’s death, “the nation of Israel will last forever.”
Speaking at the funeral, Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan called for new settlement construction in response to the shooting and for reprisal attacks by Israeli security forces.
“We demand to see the blood of the terrorists,” said Dagan, whose Samaria Regional Council includes the Elon Moreh settlement where the baby’s parents live.
“We’ve been informed that the IDF has gone after the terrorists and hit one of them….but this is not enough,” he said.
Dagan was referring to Palestinian media reports saying Israeli security forces arrested a suspect sought in connection to the attack.
The IDF later confirmed it had arrested several suspects and shot and killed one suspect who attempted to attack troops.
Before the funeral, Netanyahu vowed Israel would track down the terrorists behind the shooting.
“Our heart is with Shira and Amichai after the passing of their 4-day-old baby that doesn’t even have a name,” Netanyahu said at an event for foreign reporters, referring to the baby’s parents.
The prime minister said security forces are working to find the terrorists behind the attack, who he calls “despicable murderers — the most deviant criminals on earth.”
“I hope there will soon be news on the matter,” he said.
“We won’t let up until we find them and bring them to justice,” Netanyahu added.
Following the baby’s death, President Reuven Rivlin extended his condolences to the Ish-Rans, who he called “true heroes.”
“We are with you, embracing you, and will not rest until this despicable terrorism is uprooted,” he said in a statement.
Jason Greenblatt, the American envoy for Middle East peace, called the baby’s death “absolutely heart-breaking” and noted the Palestinian terror group Hamas praised the attack.
“The countries who raised the vote threshold at #UN for our resolution against Hamas, were absent, abstained or voted against our resolution to condemn Hamas should absorb this news and understand their actions,” he said on Twitter.
Greenblatt was referring to a US-sponsored resolution condemning Hamas that was voted on by the United Nations General Assembly last week. Despite garnering majority support, the resolution failed to clear the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett called for a tough response following the death of the newborn.
“A Jewish baby that still hadn’t been named was murdered… his short life was a struggle for his life,” Bennett, who heads the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, wrote on Twitter.
“This is a despicable murder by terrorists who have stopped fearing us. We must restore the lost deterrence; otherwise a wave of murders is on the way,” he added.
Alexander Fulbright contributed to this report.