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Daughter: 'Sorry you won't dance at my wedding'

Mother-of-6 killed in apparent terror attack remembered for her ‘joy for life’

Family and friends bury Esther Horgen a day after her body was found in a West Bank forest when she didn’t return home from a run

The funeral of Esther Horgen, killed in an apparent terror attack in the West Bank, December 22, 2020 (Screen grab/Ynet); Inset: Esther Horgen (Courtesy)
The funeral of Esther Horgen, killed in an apparent terror attack in the West Bank, December 22, 2020 (Screen grab/Ynet); Inset: Esther Horgen (Courtesy)

Esther Horgen, who was found dead in a northern West Bank forest in an apparent terror attack, was eulogized for her love of life as she was buried on Tuesday morning.

“For 30 years we walked together, and two days ago you went for a walk and didn’t return,” said her husband Benjamin. Horgen’s body was found a day after she went for a run in a forest near their West Bank home.

“How can a few words manage to express the depth of your heart and your generosity, your joy for life and love for others?” he said.

Esther’s daughter Odelia mourned the loss of her mother and expressed pain that she would not be at her future wedding.

Esther Horgen, 52, who was found dead in the northern West Bank from a suspected terror attack on December 20, 2020. (Courtesy)

“My mother is my best friend. She came to visit me at the end of the world, in Australia. Where are you now, mother?” said Odelia. “I am sorry that you will not dance at my wedding.”

Dozens of mourners attended the funeral including Settlements Minister Tzachi Hanegbi.

Community leader Rabbi Reuven Uziel said that Horgen’s killer would not be able to “sully” Israel.

“On Friday we sat together at a Shabbat meal. Not for a second we did not think this was the last time we would meet. You were a person of love and lightness, of joy and a smile,” Uziel said. “The murderers will not be able to sully the land of the Land of Israel, which will remain blessed and holy, and you will remain blessed and pure.”

In an interview on Tuesday morning, Benjamin said that his wife had lived life to the full.

“She lived every moment of her life. She had so much to give,” Benjamin Horgen told the Kan public broadcaster. “I trust the defense establishment to do their job, they have updated [us] that things are progressing.”

Esther, 52, a mother of six, went for a run in the Reihan forest near their house in the Tal Menashe settlement on Sunday afternoon and did not return, whereupon Benjamin called police. Her body was found in the early hours of Monday in the forest with signs of violence on it.

Security forces are increasingly convinced that the death was a terror attack committed by a Palestinian assailant, officials said on Monday afternoon.

Forensics and police officers at the scene where Esther Horgen was found dead in a forest in the northern West Bank, December 21, 2020 (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)

IDF troops were carrying out a manhunt in adjacent Palestinian towns where the attacker might have fled, the network said, adding that Horgen was killed with “great violence” on the “on the [pre-1967] seam line, but on the western side of it.”

Security officials told reporters earlier Monday that investigators were considering the possibility that the killer could have been an Arab Israeli from the nearby Wadi Ara area.

Benjamin Horgen (L) speaks to reporters alongside Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan in the Tal Menashe settlement after his wife was killed in an apparent terror attack on December 21, 2020. (Screen capture/Channel 13)

The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, said that Horgen was killed with a large rock.

Police requested and received a court-issued gag order on Monday morning, barring media outlets from identifying the identities of any suspects or any other details of the investigation.

On Monday, Benjamin Horgen said an increase in settlement building was “an appropriate Zionist response” to the killing.

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