Miki Mark, the head of the Otniel yeshiva who was killed in a terror attack Friday in which his wife and two of his children were injured, was described by friends and family as a pillar of his community, a hard-worker and a dedicated father.
Mark, 48 and a father of ten, died Friday after his family’s car came under gunfire from a passing vehicle near his settlement, south of the West Bank city of Hebron.
“Miki is a man who spoke little and did a lot, with great dedication,” Rabbi Re’em HaCohen, who ran the yeshiva with Mark, told Channel 2 News.
“He had a great many roles. This is a terrible tragedy on the eve of the Sabbath.”
Otniel secretary Eran Dgani told Ynet News that Mark was “one of the pillars of the community… one of the pioneers.” He called the rabbi an honest, humble man and “a man of action with every fiber of his being…a dedicated father to his family. His absence in the community will be great.”
Dgani said the community would not succumb to fear and despair sought by terrorists. “Murderers who would eradicate us with bloodshed will find again and again a steadfast wall of people who believe in life, much more than those murderers believe in death.”
President Reuven Rivlin said Mark “saw the school as his life’s project and one of the most important projects in Israeli society.
“My condolences are with the family at this difficult time, and with the heads of the yeshiva and its students who are on the frontline, for the loss of their director and teacher,” he said.
Likud MK Yehudah Glick, known for campaigning to allow Jewish prayer on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, called Mark “a friend and a brother” and said he was “happy… a man of life.”
Mark was a cousin of Mossad chief Yossi Cohen. Cohen visited the injured family members at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital on Friday, where he embraced with relatives and spoke with the wounded children.
“It is still painful and fresh,” he told Ynet at the hospital.
Mark’s nephew Elhanan Kalmanson said “Miki fell in the battle for our people’s freedom, identity and land. Miki said more than once that in these cases [of terror victims] we always see that…the best of the best are chosen. How right he was. There was no one better than Miki.”
Mark’s wife was seriously injured in the attack near Beit Hagai on Route 60. Their 14-year-old daughter was in moderate-to-serious condition and their 15-year-old son was lightly injured. Earlier reports of an infant in the vehicle were apparently mistaken.
An initial investigation indicated the terrorists passed the family’s car with their vehicle, then opened fire at them. Officials said over 20 bullet holes were found in the victims’ car.
Security forces were searching the area for the perpetrators, who fled the scene after the attack, the army said in a statement. Army officials said they had ordered an effective closure of Hebron to prevent further attacks.
Following the attack the security cabinet scheduled an emergency meeting for Saturday evening to discuss the terror upsurge.