Rabbi Raziel Shevach, slain in a West Bank terror attack Tuesday night, was remembered by friends and acquaintances as a goodhearted family man who was a central figure in the local settlement community and in his home of Havat Gilad.
“He was a very special person,” said friend Yehuda Hass, who volunteered with Shevach as a medic in Magen David Adom. “Just recently he received a citation for his work in the organization. He was the unofficial rabbi of Havat Gilad.”
The 35-year-old father of six was also a rabbi in a yeshiva and a mohel.
“He was a very well known mohel here…in the area, entirely as a volunteer,” Hass told the Ynet news site. “He was a great man with a great heart.”
Shevach was shot dead Tuesday while driving down a highway near his home in the outpost outside Nablus. Israeli security forces were searching for the perpetrators.
His funeral will be held at the Havat Gilad outpost at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau also released a statement in which he said he was heartbroken by Shevach’s death. He described him as a “unique, affable and rare character” who “devoted his life to saving lives, teaching Torah and safeguarding Judaism in the Land of Israel.”
The head of the local settler council, Yossi Dagan said “residents of Samaria and all of Israel grieve this terrible loss and embrace the family and the orphaned children.”
Dagan called Shevach a central figure in the region, “a man of grace, a man of Torah and a friend. All who knew him loved him, and loved him deeply.”
Israeli troops launched a manhunt in the northern West Bank following the deadly attack. The military set up roadblocks around the Nablus area as it searched for the perpetrators.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter said Israeli “security forces will do everything possible in order to reach the foul murderer, and the State of Israel will bring him to justice.”
Shortly before 8:00 p.m., Shevach was driving in his car on the highway near his home when shots were fired at him from a passing car.
Shevach was shot in the neck, but managed to call his wife and tell her to call an ambulance.
Civilian and military medics rushed to the scene and tried to stop the bleeding as they took him to Kfar Saba’s Meir Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
He is survived by his wife, four daughters, and two sons. His oldest child is 11 and the youngest is eight months old, according to a local official.
His wife earlier on Tuesday evening told Ynet that he “called me, and said, ‘I’ve been shot, call an ambulance.’ I’m still shocked and horrified at how easily they gun us down.”
Judah Ari Gross and Jacob Magid contributed to this report.