A surreal engagement ceremony took place during the funeral for a slain Palestinian militant in the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday.
Raed Jaradat, 22, who was shot while carrying out a stabbing attack against Israeli soldiers near Hebron last week, and Daania Arshid, killed as she tried to stab soldiers at the Tomb of the Patriachs on the same day, were posthumously betrothed to each other as “martyrs” to be married beyond the grave.
As the father of Jaradat prepared to bury his son, he turned to the crowd and requested from Arshid’s father to allow his daughter to become his son’s bride. Arshid’s father broke into tears and approved the engagement. Then the two fathers were hoisted into the air and came together in an emotional embrace.
The crowd broke into song and dance as the announcer declared, “Blessed be Raed, blessed be Daania, God is great.”
The “betrothal” took place after Israel delivered the bodies of Jaradat and another attacker killed by Israeli security forces to the Palestinian military and civil liaison department Saturday.
On Friday, Israel transferred Arshid’s body to the West Bank along with the bodies of four other Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks or attempted attacks on Israelis.
The Israeli cabinet had expressed its opposition to the move, with some ministers calling for the bodies to be buried on land owned by the army in the north of the country. In both cases, throngs of local residents gathered to escort the bodies to burial.
Jaradat was shot and killed by Israeli troops as he carried out a knife-stabbing attack near the entrance to the Palestinian village of Beit Anun, north of Hebron, last Monday.
One Israeli soldier was seriously wounded in the incident.
Earlier that day, Arshid was shot in the West Bank city of Hebron as she attempted to stab an Israel Defense Forces soldier near the Tomb of the Patriarchs. She died of her wounds on the way to the hospital, the IDF said.