Tadese Tashume Ben Ma’ada, the second fatality in last week’s double bombing in Jerusalem, was buried and eulogized as a “special and rare person” on Sunday, a day after he succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the terror attack.
Ben Ma’ada, 50, was critically injured in an explosion Wednesday morning at a bus stop at the main entrance to Jerusalem, one of two bombings that rattled the capital.
Ben Ma’ada immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia 21 years ago. He left behind a wife and six children.
His cousin spoke on behalf of the family, expressing shock at the death as well as the hope that those responsible for the attack will be caught.
“Tadese left his home in the morning and didn’t think something like this would happen. Suddenly he was mortally wounded in a terror attack and died of his wounds. We ask that the murderers be caught and that justice be done. We hope that the IDF and the police will restore security,” he said.
Addressing the hundreds of mourners at the funeral at the Har Hamenuhot Cemetery, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said he had met Ben Ma’ada the evening before the bomb attack at the inauguration of a new community center for the Ethiopian community.
“The next morning, while standing at the bus stop, [Ben Ma’ada] was mortally wounded by a bomb planted by a despicable terrorist — a bomb that destroyed an entire world, and that ended the life of such a special and rare person,” Lion said.
“In one moment [the terror attack] ended a human story — a story about Zionism, about aliyah, about the love of the Land of Israel, about the love of Jerusalem. And in a symbolic and tragic way, this happened on the day of Ethiopian Jews’ holiday of Sigd,” Lion said.
“Dear Tadese, I’m sure it’s not easy for you to see now your dear wife who is left here alone to raise your six beautiful children. I’m sure it’s not easy for you to see the terrible pain of your family, struggling to digest this. But I want to tell you, Tadese, that you are an extraordinary inspiration for the entire nation,” Lion said.
“You were privileged to be a symbol, a symbol of immigration, a symbol of bravery, a symbol of love for the land,” he said.
Immigration and Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata said that terrorism “will not break” the nation.
“They say that the Land of Israel is acquired through suffering, but this loss is too great for one family and my heart goes out to them,” Tamano-Shata said.
“The bitter enemy will not defeat us, and we will not allow any evildoer and cursed terrorist to break us as a nation,” she said. “The State of Israel will pursue every threat until justice is served. The safety and wellbeing of our citizens takes precedence above all else. Together we are strong.”
Haile Mara, Ben Ma’ada’s cousin, said his dream was for all remaining family members — including his brothers and sisters — to be able to move to Israel.
“[Ben Ma’ada] was working on this until the last moment. On the morning of the attack, he sent me an email on the subject at 6:44 a.m. and when I answered him at 7:06 a.m., it was already after the attack,” Mara told the Kan public broadcaster.
“I tried to call and he didn’t answer,” he said.
The victim’s friend Itamar Sahalo said Ben Ma’ada’s loss would be keenly felt by his family, friends and community.
“He always gave strength and support to everyone, and he welcomed everyone with love and warmth. He always volunteered to help. It has crushed the family,” Sahalo told Kan.
The double attack in Jerusalem killed two and injured 22 others.
The other victim was 16-year-old Aryeh Schupak, a yeshiva student from Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood and a dual Israeli-Canadian national.
Police suspect the explosions at two bus stops were caused by near-identical remotely detonated explosive devices hidden behind the bus stops in bushes.
The devices were packed with nails to maximize casualties, according to police officials.