Hundreds of people on Wednesday attended the funerals of the four residents of the West Bank settlement of Beit Hagai who were murdered in a terror attack the previous evening near Hebron.
Talya Imes, 45, and her husband Yitzhak Imes, 47, are to be buried at the Mount of Olives cemetery, while Avishai Shendler, 24, is to be buried in Petah Tikvah and Kochava Even-Haim, 37, will be buried in Ashdod.
Beit Hagai's synagogue filled with family members during the morning hours, and as the bodies were brought in they could be heard weeping and tearing their clothes in mourning.
The Imes couple left six orphans behind, who took shelter in each others' arms. Moriah, Avishai's widow, was held by the women of her family.
The Imes's son, Ariel, eulogized the couple. "Mother, father, something changed yesterday. You were a natural part of the family, and suddenly you're not here. I can't believe that a mother that took such good care of us is no longer here," he said. "Come back to me, mother."
Momi Even-Haim eulogized his wife. "How can I say goodbye to you? I only want you to stay. I don't want you to be hurt like this. It's cowardice to shoot a woman in a moving vehicle like that," he said.
"I want to tell you about everyone who came, the place is full here. You probably would have hidden in the corner and said, 'You shouldn't have'."
Six orphans left behind (Photo: Ido Erez)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin also spoke at the ceremony and said new construction would be "a proper Zionist response to terror".
"In terror's eyes there is no Green Line (1967 borders), and there is no difference between Beit Hagai or Bait Kama, or Beit Yehoshua," he said.
Rabbi Dov Lior also eulogized the victims, and asked God to "avenge the spilled blood of your people".
"We have security forces, but leaders must alter their way of thinking that we can reach an agreement with these murderers. We all, Left and Right, want peace, but they want to annihilate Israel. Our hearts are with these three families," he said.
Meanwhile Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi called on settlers to show restraint during a tour of the area.
"Within this pain and grief, I call on the heads of the settlements and the people of Beit Hagai to show discretion and responsibility. We are in a long struggle for our right to achieve a life of security and peace with our neighbors," said Barak.
Ashkenazi, on his part, vowed the terrorists would be caught. "We are working with security forces in all areas – intelligence and operational – and taking every action to guarantee we place our hands on these murderers and those who sent them," he said.
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