Thousands of mourners gathered Wednesday morning in a West Bank settlement for the funeral of a 25-year-old man who was gunned down Monday evening in the West Bank while returning home from a basketball game.
Among those at the funeral in Kochav Hashachar, north of Jerusalem, was Education Minister Naftali Bennett and other politicians, as well as family and friends of Malachy Moshe Rosenfeld.
Mourners spoke of a family-oriented, ambitious young man who was taken much too soon from a household that had already suffered the trauma of a son killed 13 years earlier in a flash flood.
“Malachy – I started playing [music] when God took away your uncle, Yitzhak. Twenty-two years later, He also took sweet Yitzhaki [Malachi’s brother],” Rosenfeld’s father Eliezer Rosenfeld said, referring to his eldest son, an IAF pilot, who was killed in a flash flood in the Judean desert more than a decade ago.
“This was the second act, and then I started singing. To stand on a stage every evening and to play when one’s heart is burning, to make people happy. And now this is the third act. What, dear Lord? Have we not sung well enough? What did we do wrong?” Rosenfeld, a musician, asked.
Malachy left behind his parents, Eliezer and Sarah Rosenfeld, and seven siblings.
“Your achievements at school … the talks you had with your mother — what a connection! You and your mother, discussing everything, analyzing and debating. How we will miss you in this big house of ours! How we thought you would achieve so much!” Rosenfeld continued.
Malachy was traveling with three other men when their car was shot at near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, north of Ramallah.
He was evacuated to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in serious condition, but was pronounced dead on Tuesday. The three other passengers were also wounded in the attack and two remain hospitalized.
The assailant is still at large.
During the funeral, Bennett called on Israelis not to surrender to a culture of hate, and vowed to continue building, while “our enemies continue killing.”
“Rosenfelds, I cry with you and salute you today. ‘We went to play basketball and they wanted to murder us,’ said Yair Hoffer [one of the other people hurt in the shooting attack] who is with us today. In basketball opponents play on the same court with the same rules. Our enemies live also on the same court, the same ground, but they don’t have the same rules,” Bennet said.
“We play by the rules of Jewish morals and they behave like savages. We risk our lives not to hurt the innocent, while they risk their lives to hurt the innocent. Our enemy is not like us, they are not a member of the family of nations,” he said, adding that “if there is such a thing as a ‘settler’, then we are all settlers.”
“We’re here to stay. They murder, and we build. They plan to kill, and we plan to build – our lives and our families,” Bennet said.
Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP it was not yet possible to determine whether the shooting was carried out by a lone attacker or small group, or was the work of a larger network. So far, no terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the shooting.
Jonathan Beck and Marissa Newman contributed to this report.