The Israeli-British rabbi whose wife and two daughters were killed this month in a terror shooting on a West Bank road said he has “no hatred” for the people who gunned down his family, in comments aired on Sunday.
Lucy Dee, 48, and her daughters Maia Dee, 20, and Rina Dee, 15, were killed after Palestinian terrorists opened fire at the car they were in as they drove through the northern Jordan Valley on April 7. The daughters were declared dead at the scene, while Lucy was rushed to a hospital in critical condition but died three days later.
The suspects remain on the loose despite promises from officials that they will be found and brought to justice.
“I have no hatred towards the… terrorists,” Leo Dee told Channel 12. “I obviously would like them to be captured and to be treated with full justice that they deserve, but mostly to stop them from doing anything like this ever again.”
“Nothing is going to bring back our beloved Lucy, Maia, and Rena,” Dee said while sitting outside his home in the West Bank settlement of Efrat next to his surviving son and two daughters. They had been in a separate car as the family made its way to Tiberias for a vacation when the attack occurred.
“My focus is very much on the future, for us and for [the people] of Israel,” he said.
“I’ve had some Palestinian friends of mine from neighboring villages who have left messages in tears, because I’ve known them for many years, they’ve known Lucy, they’ve known the girls,” Leo said, explaining how he developed friendships with builders and gardeners whom he employed to work on his home.
“We’ve spent a lot of time together. Because I never got any guards, I don’t have a gun, and I would spend the day working from home while they came, and we would end up chatting, having coffee, talking about their kids, talking about our kids. We trusted them, I trusted them completely with the family. I still do, more so than any other people I know.
“When I spoke to one of my friends recently, he said ‘Look, we love you,'” Dee said, adding that he believed a majority of Palestinians were “decent people.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a condolence visit to the Dee family on Sunday, where Dee said they discussed the mourning process, which the premier experienced when his brother Yonatan was killed in the famous Entebbe raid in 1976.
“I really just stressed to him the value of bringing the Jewish people together, which is really through love, and embracing people, and looking at the good,” Dee said.
“I don’t know why we have to focus on things that push and pull us apart, because we can focus on the things that different segments of the populations are achieving,” he added.
Lucy Dee’s organs were transplanted Tuesday hours before her funeral, saving the lives of five people, the National Transplant Center said. Leo Dee told Sky News on Sunday that he was proud that his wife’s organs could be used to help people, and that one included an Arab patient.
“I am extremely proud of all of them. We are very proud (Lucy) saved five lives. Two corneas, as well, so another two operations will take place,” he said.
“One of them was an Arab. I think that is significant to us because Lucy was very much into peaceful relations with our neighbors and I think she would have been very proud that she saved the life of an Arab, even in the situation,” he added.
The Dee family buried Lucy just two days after laying to rest daughters Maia and Rina, all three of whom were killed in the terror attack. The family, which immigrated from the UK nine years ago, holds dual citizenship.
The suspects are thought to be hiding in the northern West Bank.
Over the past week, the family received visits from President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal, Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, National Unity party leader Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, among others.
Several hours after the deadly shooting, an Arab Israeli man drove his car into a group of tourists near a promenade in Tel Aviv, killing Italian national Alessandro Parini and wounding seven others.