Bnei Brak residents, political leaders and many others participated Wednesday in the funeral Rabbi Avishai Yehezkel, who was laid to rest after being shot dead in a terror attack in the city hours earlier.
Five people were killed on Tuesday evening when 26-year old Diaa Hamarsheh, resident of the village of Ya'bad near Jenin in the West Bank, opened fire from an automatic rifle in two separate locations in the predominately ultra-Orthodox city. The gunman was shot and killed on the scene.
Yehezkel and his two-year-old son were walking near their home when the terrorist ran up on them and opened fire. The 29-year-old rabbi was shot dead as he protected his toddler son. His wife is currently pregnant with another child.
Before he died, Yehezkel had the time to call his brother to warn him about a shooting in the area.
"How I loved you," his brother cried as he was being laid to rest.
"You called to tell me to stay at home because you were hearing gunshots. You feared for my safety but as you were protecting your son, you were shot multiple times. You showed true Jewish bravery and died a martyr's death," he said.
"You were a wonderful brother," he said. "This is not only my loss but a loss for the people of Israel," Yehezkel's brother said.
Rabbi Menashe Yehezkel, the victim's father, said his son always had a smile on his face. "My son was concerned for his elder brother and called to warn him of gunfire. His bravery was in his character. This was God's way," he said.
Leader of the religious Shas party, Arye Deri, also attended the funeral and eulogized the 29-year-old rabbi. "You are pure and sacred," Deri said. "How can parents be consoled for the death of their son?" he asked.
Deri said Yehezkel's death cannot be in vain and the public as well as the leaders must reflect on what must be done to stop the current terror wave.
Bnei Brak mayor Avraham Rubinstein said Yehezkel was devout and respectful of his parents and brothers. "We want to increase devotion here and open more religious institutions of learning," he said.
Another victim, 36-year-old father-of-five, Yaakov Shalom will also be interned in Bnei Brak on Wednesday. Another victim, police officer Amir Khouri, will be buried on Thursday.
First published: 12:10, 03.30.22