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President, thousands mourn ‘righteous’ rabbi slain in terror attack

Rivlin eulogizes ‘righteous and modest man,’ says terrorism ‘will never undermine our hold on the land’

Thousands of mourners attended the funeral ceremony for Rabbi Miki Mark in the West Bank settlement of Otniel on Sunday morning, two days after he was killed in a drive-by shooting terror attack outside Hebron.

President Reuven Rivlin, a distant relative of the victim, said the whole nation was grieving with him over the loss of Mark.

“You were a righteous and modest man who gave of his own even when he knew it couldn’t be repaid,” Rivlin said in his eulogy, held at the seminary Mark directed.

Mark, 48, was killed Friday when his car was shot at by suspected Palestinian terrorists in a passing car as he was driving on Route 60 in the southern West Bank, forcing him off the road, where his car overturned. His wife, who remains in intensive care, and two children who were in the car were injured in the attack.

“Terrorism has accompanied us from our first days here but it isn’t able to weaken us,” Rivlin said. “We are not loosening out grip on the land. Terrorism will never undermine our hold on the land and a Jewish life isn’t worthless. We will continue to fight terrorism without fear. The IDF and security forces will cut down the terrorists who cut your life short.”

The children of Rabbi Miki Mark mourn at a service prior to his funeral at the Otniel yeshiva, where Rabbi Mark was director, on July 3, 2016. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)
The children of Rabbi Miki Mark mourn at a service prior to his funeral at the Otniel yeshiva where he was director, on July 3, 2016. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Mark was the director of the Orthodox yeshiva in the settlement of Otniel. A father of 10 and the cousin of Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, he had lived in the settlement with his family for years.

“My father, I love you. I don’t believe we’re parting. Just a moment ago you hugged me and said you wouldn’t leave, and now God has taken you. You know what? We always said our father in heaven takes the best and we love you,” his daughter Orit said.

Miki Mark (Facebook)
Miki Mark (Facebook)

“Father, you were not a hero-worshiper,” said his son Yehoshua at the service, praising his father as a modest man.

“Dad was a righteous man, you were entirely righteous, you gave so much,” another son, Natanel, said. “Look at the family you raised, a great achievement. How can I speak of you in past tense?”

After the memorial ceremony in Otniel, Mark was being laid to rest at Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem.

Earlier Sunday, Mark’s children called on the public to pay their respects at his funeral.

“He wasn’t just our father, he was a father to so many people,” one of his daughters said in a video eulogy in which she exhorted people to attend.

“Everyone will hear something good about what dad was,” another daughter said, “and take that good and be better people.”

Tehilla, Mark’s 14-year-old daughter who was moderately injured in the shooting, was slated to leave the hospital by ambulance to attend the funeral, Walla news reported.

A 15-year-old son, Pedaya, was also lightly injured in the attack; he described the attack in a television interview on Friday.

An initial investigation indicated the terrorists passed the Marks’ car with their vehicle near the settlement of Beit Hagai south of Hebron, then opened fire at them. Officials said over 20 bullet holes were found in the car.

An Israeli car hit in a drive-by shooting near Hebron that killed Miki Mark on July 1, 2016 (IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
An Israeli car hit in a drive-by shooting near Hebron that killed Miki Mark on July 1, 2016 (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

On Saturday, the IDF arrested several suspects in the Hebron area as part of the hunt for those responsible for the attack, which was the second deadly assault in the area in as many days.

On Thursday, Hallel Yaffa Ariel,13, was killed by a Palestinian stabber who entered her home at the Kiryat Arba settlement adjacent to Hebron.

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