Thousands of mourners gathered together with the husband and three surviving children of Lucy Dee as she was laid to rest on Tuesday, less than 48 hours after they buried her two daughters Maia and Rina. The three were shot and killed in an ambush by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank last week.
Dee, 48, was critically injured in the Friday shooting in the northern Jordan Valley and died of her wounds on Monday.
Friends, family, and residents of the Etzion bloc gathered at the Kfar Etzion cemetery, where Maia Dee, 20, and Rina Dee, 15, were laid to rest on Sunday, to pay their respects to the girls’ mother. The family, who immigrated from the UK nine years ago, hold dual citizenship.
Keren Dee, 17, Lucy’s oldest surviving daughter, told mourners that “to lose a mother is like losing life.”
“Yesterday, I prayed that you would wake up, that we won’t need to experience pain again. My heart hurts so much, I can’t lose you as well. Now I need to accept two roles in the home that nobody prepared me for,” she said.
“You always told me that you were waiting for grandchildren, to be a grandmother. Now they’ll live and they won’t have the honor of meeting you. From five girls, we are now two,” Keren said. “They shot you twice. You fought for your life, you were a strong woman, from your childhood, which wasn’t easy, to your last moments.
“I can’t digest that it’s over. It’s impossible to put in words. I love you, Mom.”
In her eulogy, Tali Dee, the youngest daughter, said she struggled to find the words to memorialize her mother.
“Think of your mothers, if you could summarize them in a few paragraphs,” she said. “How do you go from everything to nothing? How will I manage to get out of my bed?”
“Among my sisters, they left me Keren. But there is only one mother. Mom, you always protected me from bad things. I wish your grandchildren will be like you,” she added.
Rabbi Leo Dee led his eulogy with the song “Ani Maamin” (I believe), which prays for the coming of the Messiah. Dee said that he had lost his “best friend” with the death of his wife, with whom he shared so many meaningful life experiences.
“We literally traveled the world together. We made aliya together. We built a new life for ourselves in the Promised Land,” he said. “You would frequently say that you couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Nor could I — even now, especially now.”
“During COVID, we spent so much time together during the lockdowns, we would sneak down the 60 highway, and head off to the Dead Sea, where we hiked every riverbed,” he said. “That was your passion Lucy, and you made it mine.”
Leo said that at the end of the pandemic, he and his wife committed to reducing their work week to four days, so they could hike on Thursdays, which they did for two and a half years.
“Recently I started feeling a little guilty for having so much time off and would work and do a couple of hours of maths class preparation in the afternoon. Now I wish I had taken every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday as well,” he added
“You were so generous, you trained to be a new mother counselor, and visited a new mother and baby weekly in Efrat to give her support. You mentored a new teacher, zooming him weekly, sometimes two or three times, to help him learn the ropes,” he told mourners.
“At the hospital yesterday, I saw a young couple with a few young children at the top of the escalators. They were getting a little annoyed with the children who were arguing with one another. I wanted to tell them to enjoy every minute because you never know what tomorrow will bring,” he said.
“Lucy you cared about all of us, writing special notes for us, baking gluten-free cakes for me, and making delicious vegetarian food for Tali,” Leo recalled. “We could come home from a day’s work or school, and find it sitting on the counter, with a little note explaining how to heat it up,” he added.
Leo thanked Efrat residents who stood by the side of the road waving Israeli flags in support of the family as they drove by before the funerals.
“We felt like the royal family at the coronation. But then we realized, that no royal family would ever get such a warm meeting,” he said.
He also thanked the public for showing support online, by users posting the flags on their social media accounts.
“The flags social media posts have been a way of enabling thousands of those outside of Efrat to get a small feeling of the level of warmth that we have had inside our small but great community,” he said.
Benjamin, Lucy’s brother, spoke for both himself and his sister Stephanie, who is pregnant and was advised not to travel for the funeral. Benjamin described Lucy as “the best sister anyone could ask for,” who ensured that she kept in contact with her siblings despite living on different continents.
“Lucianne would call me every Friday to find out about my week, my kids, my cooking,” he said. “She was never interested in talking about herself, only about others. If I was ever upset about something, she was there, and she would listen.”
“Being incredibly smart, Lucianne went to Oxford University. She learned Japanese in Japan, and she kept kosher there, which was no easy feat,” he recalled.
“Lucianne was so happy in Efrat, where she felt at home and at peace. For Lucianne family was everything, and Efrat was the ideal, the perfect place, in which her children could grow up,” Benjamin said.
“During Lucianne’s last visit to London, during which she stayed with my family, she gave us a gratitude book. The idea being that in it, we would each write a daily message of gratitude and thanks about each other. Lucianne wanted us to not take each other for granted, and be thankful for every single day,” he said.
“I will try to live out this message, and countless more, taught to me by my darling sister, every day in her memory,” he added.
Dee’s organs were donated and transplanted hours before the funeral, saving the lives of five people.
At Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Dee’s heart went to a 51-year-old woman, her liver to a 25-year-old man, and her kidneys to two men — one in his late 30s and one in his late 50s. Her lungs were transplanted into a 58-year-old woman at Sheba. Her corneas were also harvested and will go to recipients at a later date.
In the Friday attack, near the settlement of Hamra, Palestinian gunmen opened fire at the victims’ car, causing it to crash on the highway’s shoulder. The terrorists then opened fire at the car again, killing the two sisters and critically wounding their mother.
Leo Dee was traveling in a separate car just ahead with other members of the family on a trip to Tiberias. He turned back in the wake of the attack and was present as medics arrived to treat his family.
The Israel Defense Forces launched a manhunt for the gunmen and other suspects who fled the scene, but they remained at large as of Tuesday. They were thought to be hiding in the northern West Bank.
Surveillance camera footage of the attack showed the terrorists driving up to the victims’ car, with one man opening fire from the passenger seat.
The car with the gunmen then made a U-turn on the highway and fled the scene toward Nablus.
Several hours after the deadly shooting, an Arab Israeli man drove his car into a group of tourists near a promenade in Tel Aviv, killing Italian national Alessandro Parini and wounding seven others.
Tensions have soared across the region in recent days, with a rocket attack from Syria on Saturday night, a barrage of rockets from Lebanon on Thursday, tit-for-tat rocket fire from the Gaza Strip and Israeli strikes over the past week, clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank, and a suspected Iranian drone launched from Syria last week.