Thousands of people on Thursday afternoon attended the Jerusalem funeral of 25-year-old Shalom Sherki, who was killed late Wednesday in the capital in a car-ramming incident that police said was likely deliberate and nationalistically motivated.
Sherki’s father, Rabbi Uri Sherki, praised his son for saving the life of the woman who stood next to him at the time of the incident, Shira Klein, who is in the hospital in critical condition.
He said “the doctors who treated you said that, without a doubt, you saved the life of the woman who stood next to you.”
Sherki said his son, who died on Holocaust Remembrance Day, was strongly moved by the annual commemorations.
“I know how much Holocaust Remembrance Day meant to you,” he said. “It’s not for nothing that it this is the day on which you leave us. After 2,000 years, we returned to here, not to be murdered or be buried, but to blossom. We had hoped yours would be the generation that would sprout.”
Shalom carried out his military service in the navy, and his father said he had religious reservations about the role, since it would take him outside of Israel’s borders, but ultimately decided that the need to protect the Israeli public trumped his concerns.
Sherki’s brother Yair, a Channel 2 reporter, said he was convinced his brother was killed in a terror attack.
“Everything we say now will be a cliche, but it’s crazy how many of the cliches are true,” he said. Yair Sherki thanked his brother for hanging on for a few hours, so that the family could say goodbye at the hospital.
“I saw the photos from the attack,” he continued. “I have no doubt that this is not an accident and no gag order will change that.”
“We will accept the [divine] decree, just as Shalom would have told us to, and how he would have accepted it himself,” he said.
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said the attack was likely an act of terrorism.
Police named Khaled Koutineh, 37, of the West Bank town of Anata northeast of Jerusalem, as the suspect in the attack, which took place in the French Hill neighborhood.
Police and the Shin Bet security service interrogated Koutineh, whose lawyer claimed it was an accidental crash.
The capital has seen a spate of car-ramming attacks over the past year, in which Palestinian “lone-wolf” assailants have used their vehicles as weapons to mow down Israeli civilians. Such attacks are usually spontaneous and are not thought to be orchestrated by terrorist organizations.
Rahel Jaskow and Jonathan Beck contributed to this report.