'Alas, our family of seven is now a family of four'

After wife, 2 daughters killed, Leo Dee slams comparisons between terrorists, victims

Speaking after wife Lucy succumbs to wounds from West Bank terror shooting, day after daughters’ burial, he faults world media for blaming attacks on Israeli construction

ֿRabbi Leo Dee holds a press conference in Efrat, on April 10, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/ Flash90)
ֿRabbi Leo Dee holds a press conference in Efrat, on April 10, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/ Flash90)

Rabbi Leo Dee, who lost his wife and two daughters in a West Bank shooting attack on Friday, blasted what he described as an intolerable moral equivalency between terrorists and victims that has characterized the international media’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Isn’t that how the world media treats Israel? We build; they murder us. They destroyed, but it’s [your] fault because you built it in the first place,” Dee said in a press statement in his hometown settlement of Efrat. He was speaking hours after his wife, Lucy, succumbed to gunshot wounds she sustained in a terrorist attack while driving with her daughters through the Hamra Junction in the northern West Bank on Friday. Two of the couple’s daughters, 20-year-old Maia and 15-year-old Rina, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Dee used the statement to share his perspective on the day of the attack and to proclaim Monday, April 10, as “Dee’s Day,” encouraging people in Israel and around the world to post a picture of an Israeli flag on social media as a “message to humanity, which is that we will never accept terror as legitimate, [that] we will never blame the murder on the victims, [and that] there is no such thing as a moral equivalence between terrorists and victim.”

He appeared to be pushing back on those who criticize Israel for building settlements in the West Bank, which most of the international community considers illegal, as well as to those who object to the existence of Israel on any borders.

Dee said he and his wife set out in separate cars on Friday for a family vacation in Tiberias. While on the way, he received a phone call from his sister who informed him that there had been a shooting on the route they were taking. Dee phoned his wife and daughter, but neither picked up. He then noticed that Maia had tried to call him.

“I called Lucy. No answer. I called Maia. No answer. I called Rina. No answer. Then I saw a missed call from Maia at 10:52,” he said.

“I hadn’t noticed it ring. I hadn’t picked up the phone. The feeling that she’d called me during the attack, and I wasn’t able to speak to her, will come back and haunt me for a while.”

He checked his wife’s and daughters’ locations on his phone and saw that they were at the Hamra junction. One of his daughters riding with him then saw a picture on Instagram that a passing car had taken of what appeared to be their family vehicle with a bullet hole in the back and blood on the suitcases, which he quickly identified.

Dee said he turned the car around immediately and drove “like a lunatic” to the junction. Upon arrival, police would not let them get too close to the car but they were informed that Maia and Rina had been killed by a terrorist who fired 20 bullets from a Kalashnikov rifle and that Lucy had been airlifted to Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital in critical condition.

After convincing the officers to show proof of identification, Dee was provided with Maia’s ID card. “I went numb. I didn’t cry yet. I was highly rational. I went back to the car and drove an hour and a half to the hospital” where his wife was being treated for one bullet that went through her brain stem and another that was lodged into the top of her spine, he said.

“There was an operation, there was reason for hope. But alas, our family of seven is now a family of four,” Dee lamented.

The bereaved father then noted that this year has seen a rare confluence of the Passover, Easter, and Ramadan religious periods, with the former two marking redemption and the latter’s message being about generating empathy for those in need and making the world a better place.

“Religions believe that we have the power to differentiate between good and bad… I am saddened that recently, maybe over the past 20 years of my life, this innate ability to differentiate between good and evil has gradually been lost from humanity,” he said. “That’s why I wish to designate the 10th of April as Dee’s Day. Today we differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong.”

From left: Lucy Dee is seen with her daughters Rina and Maia. The two sisters were shot dead in a terrorist attack in the West Bank on April 7, 2023. Their mother, critically hurt in the attack, died on April 10, 2023. (Courtesy)

“How would I like you to celebrate Dee’s Day this year? If you feel that it was wrong to shoot dead at close range three beautiful, innocent, young ladies in the prime of their lives, post a picture of you or your spouse with an Israeli flag or just a picture of an Israeli flag and share it on Facebook, Instagram or whatever social media app that you use,” he said before drawing out an Israeli flag on a dry-erase board behind him.

“For too long, we have let a small minority try to convince us that there is no such thing as right and wrong. Everything is relative, and it’s cathartic to do this because sometimes when we do wrong, we know we have to make up for it. But if we pretend that there is no right and wrong, maybe we’ll get away scot-free,” said Dee.

“Before you know it…any terrorist is justified to kill any innocent civilian because he has his cause.”

Dee blasted the still-at-large terrorist as “a product of a broken culture that doesn’t differentiate between good and evil.”

Several hours after the Friday 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 in what officials are inviestigating as a terrorist attack.

Tensions have soared across the region in recent days, with a rocket attack from Syria on Saturday night, a barrage of rockets from Lebanon on Thursday, tit-for-tat rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Israeli strikes over the past week, clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank, and a suspected Iranian drone launched from Syria last week.

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