Three fathers, three funerals: Ariel terror attack victims laid to rest

Funeral for Motti Ashkenazi held in Yavne, Michael Ladygin buried in Holon, a day after Tamir Avihai laid to rest in Kiryat Netafim

Mourners stand near the fresh grave of Motti Ashkenazi at the cemetery in Yavne, November 16, 2022. (Flash90)
Mourners stand near the fresh grave of Motti Ashkenazi at the cemetery in Yavne, November 16, 2022. (Flash90)

Two of the three men killed the day before in a terror attack at the West Bank settlement of Ariel, were laid to rest Wednesday in separate funerals.

Motti Ashkenazi, 59, was buried in Yavne and Michael Ladygin, 36, in Holon. The third victim, Tamir Avihai, was laid to rest Tuesday night, hours after the stabbing and car-ramming attack that took their lives.

Ashkenazi’s family requested that the funeral be closed to media.

Ashkenazi worked as a supplier for the Amisragas gas distributor in the West Bank area. He is survived by his wife, three children and two grandchildren.

“Motti was a loving person, full of joy, an exemplary husband, and a family man with a huge soul who always loved to help everyone,” his family said in remarks provided by the Yavne municipality.

Over 100 people attended Ladygin’s funeral, including Agriculture Minister Oded Forer.

Ladygin, a father of two, lived in Bat Yam and worked as a truck driver. He moved to Israel five years ago from Russia.

Mourners attend the funeral of Michael Ladygin in Bat Yam on November 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

“My husband loved Israel, he wanted to live here,” his wife, Evgeniya, said at his funeral, remembering him as a man who always stopped to help others. “I hope no other family ever enters this circle of bereavement.”

She eulogized him as always rushing to give assistance whenever he encountered a car accident in which people were hurt.

“This is a small example of the kind of man my husband was,” Evgeniya said.

“Unfortunately, the State of Israel knows bereavement,” Forer said at Ladygin’s funeral. “But we always know how to raise our heads. Michael was murdered by a terrorist whose one goal was to sow fear.”

“There are no words to describe the terrible fury over this attack and there are no words to comfort the family,” he said.

Avihai, a resident of the settlement of Kiryat Netafim and a father of six, was killed when the terrorist rammed his car into him.

At Avihai’s funeral, held Tuesday night in the West Bank settlement of Barkan, his son Adir, 11, said the traditional mourner’s Kaddish prayer. Hundreds of people participated in the ceremony.

His daughter Shahar described her father as “her best friend” and “role model.”

Victims of a terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel on November 15, 2022., Tamir Avihai (L) Michael Ladygin (C) and Motti Ashkenazi (R). (Courtesy)

“I don’t know how I will manage without you,” she said. “I have to talk to you, Dad. I am begging you. I love you. You are the best father in the world. Promise that you will watch over us from above.”

Another daughter, Livnat, said: “I’m sure you’re in a good place now. I love you, Father. Watch over us from above. I’m proud of you.”

Her sibling Shirel thanked their father “for the light and joy that was always in you. Thank you for always being there for me. Father, I’m sorry for not telling you how much I love and appreciate you. I take upon myself the joy of your life and to spread it around.”

Another daughter, Dikla, paid tribute to her father and said that “in every phone call you said you love me. Me too. I miss your hug, a father’s hug. I just want to hear your voice. You didn’t die, you were murdered in cold blood. Take care of me from above, I miss you.”

According to the Israel Defense Forces, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed a security guard near the entrance to the Ariel Industrial Park. The terrorist then stabbed three people at and adjacent to a nearby gas station, before he fled in an apparently stolen vehicle.

Israeli security and medics at the scene of a terror attack, at the entrance to Ariel industrial zone, in the West Bank, on November 15, 2022. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Shortly afterward, the terrorist crashed the vehicle into other cars on the Route 5 highway, before getting out and stabbing another person, according to medics. He then stole another vehicle and drove it against traffic, crashing into more cars, before he got out and was shot dead by soldiers and armed civilians.

The terrorist was named by the Palestinian Authority health ministry as 18-year-old Muhammed Souf, from the nearby town of Hares.

Local officials said the terrorist had worked in the industrial zone, and had a valid permit. Souf did not have any prior security offenses, a defense source told The Times of Israel.

The IDF is concerned the rampage could inspire copycat attacks, but has decided against sending more troops to the West Bank, Channel 13 reported.

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