President visits family of Ori Ansbacher, vows to ‘light up’ world in her memory
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President visits family of Ori Ansbacher, vows to ‘light up’ world in her memory

Rivlin, US ambassador pay condolence visits to relatives of Israeli teen murdered in Jerusalem terror attack

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

President Reuven Rivlin (c) stands with a group of children holding signs that read "to be a free people on our land," after paying a condolence visit at the home of Ori Ansbacher's family in the Tekoa settlement on February 13, 2019. (Courtesy)
President Reuven Rivlin (c) stands with a group of children holding signs that read "to be a free people on our land," after paying a condolence visit at the home of Ori Ansbacher's family in the Tekoa settlement on February 13, 2019. (Courtesy)

In a condolence visit at the home of Ori Anbacher’s family on Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin assured the terror victim’s relatives and friends that Israelis would continue “lighting” the world in her memory.

Speaking to the children the 19-year-old had volunteered with during the past year of her national service, Rivlin said, “We have lost a great light, but we will not stop lighting more and more lights after her.”

Ansbacher, whose first name Ori means “my light” in Hebrew, was brutally murdered by a Palestinian man while walking through a forest on the outskirts of Jerusalem on Thursday.

“In every interview about Ori, people talk about the light that shone from her. People are going out to walk along the paths that she walked, people are talking about the good they see around them – and this is a great gift that she gave us without even knowing it,” the president added.

“I do not know many people whose name became the meaning of their life. I have read a lot about Ori since we lost her. In every story, every memory, there is such great light. She lit up her friends, light shone from her, and she left light behind.”

Toward the end of his visit, Rivlin took a picture with Ansbacher’s sisters and friends who held up signs with the phrase “To be a free people on our land.” The words, from Israel’s national anthem, are the name of an initiative launched by Ansbacher’s friends encouraging Israelis to explore nature in her memory.

Ori Ansbacher (Courtesy)

US Ambassador David Friedman also paid a condolence visit to the Ansbacher home in the Tekoa settlement.

Friedman told the family that while he is not normally at a loss for things to say, he has no words other than to express his sadness, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

While visits to the settlements by US officials had been rare, Friedman has made periodic trips beyond the Green Line, usually for condolence visits at the homes of Israeli terror victims.

Israeli officials from across the political spectrum have paid their respects to the Ansbacher family over the past week. In addition, a group of Palestinian and Israeli coexistence activists visited on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended suspected killer Arafat Irfaiya’s remand for an additional 10 days. Channel 12 news reported that investigators from the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police intend to indict him for terrorist murder and rape.

The Shin Bet said that Irfaiya, 29, left his home in Hebron on Thursday armed with a knife and made his way toward Jerusalem, where he spotted Ansbacher in a forested part of the city. He then raped and murdered her. The Shin Bet defined the killing as an act of terrorism.

A spokesman for the Shin Bet said Irfaiya had spent time in prison for security-related offenses and that he had crossed into Israel without a permit before carrying out the murder. Hebrew media reported that the suspect is affiliated with Hamas, though neither the terror group nor others have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Additional details regarding the probe remain under gag order.

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