State officials skip funeral of teen slain on Syrian border

Not one government representative shows up to pay last respects to Mohammed Karkara; Arab MKs also absent

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Relatives of Arab Israeli youth Mohammed Karkara,15, carry his coffin during his funeral in the northern Israeli village of Arrabe on June 23, 2014. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)
Relatives of Arab Israeli youth Mohammed Karkara,15, carry his coffin during his funeral in the northern Israeli village of Arrabe on June 23, 2014. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)

No government officials or representatives attended the Monday funeral for a 15-year-old Arab-Israeli boy killed in a cross-border attack on the Golan Heights the day before, leading to complaints from some close to the family.

As thousands of mourners accompanied Mohammed Karkara’s coffin through the streets of the western Galilee town of Arabba, there was a sense of frustration at the noticeable absence, Israeli website NRG reported.

“It cannot be that there is no one here from the State,” said interim Arabba regional council head Adel Badrana, according to NRG. “No minister or government representative showed up, and there is great anger here. People don’t understand how this can be. A child dies in a terror attack and no one shows up.”

Badrana said that aides to Education Minister Shai Piron and President-elect Rubi Rivlin had been in touch to say that they will visit the family, but no date has been set.

Mohammed Karkara (photo credit:
Mohammed Karkara (photo credit:

Rivlin’s office said he would arrive Tuesday, NRG reported. Piron’s office said he was not slated to visit, but would speak with the family by phone.

No Arab MKs were present at the funeral either.

Karkara was killed in what the IDF said was an anti-tank missile attack from Syria, just south of the Quneitra crossing. Three others were hurt, including his father, a civilian contractor, who sustained serious injuries.

The IDF responded with tank fire at Syrian military posts in the immediate aftermath and later on bombed nine Syrian army positions from the air, in the first overt strike on Syria in decades.

Karkara had accompanied his father to work on what was the first day of the summer vacation.

The boy’s father Fahmi told Army Radio there had not been any spillover from the civil war in that area previously. “We had heard the fighting, but quite far away,” he said.

He said he had not been warned that it was dangerous to take his son with him to work in the area. After the explosion he said he knew “right away” that Mohammed was dead.

AFP contributed to this report.

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