On One-Year Anniversary of Fogel Family Murders, Politicians Vow to Build More Jewish Settlements
There’s a famous Hebrew song that goes: “Mishenichnas Adar marbim be-simcha,” that is, “When the month of Adar arrives, joy is abundant.” For the town of Itamar in the biblical region of Samaria (the northern West Bank), things didn’t turn out that way last Adar. On this date last year – the 6th of Adar per the Jewish lunar calendar — two Palestinian teenagers from a nearby village broke through the town’s fence, entered the home of the Fogel family and proceeded to stab to death parents Ruti and Ehud and three of their children – Yoav, 11, Elad, 4 and three-month-old Hadas whose throat was slashed while she was in her crib.
More than 1,000 gathered to pay their respects to the murdered family Wednesday including politicians, rabbis, family and friends. Some who attended shared their impressions with The Blaze. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz who spoke at the ceremony said [Hebrew link]:
“That today is a rainy day perhaps symbolizes more than anything the double meaning of this day, the significance that rain is like tears and is also a blessing.”
The terrorists who carried out the attack are cousins Amjad and Hakim Awad, who then were 19 and 18-years-old, now serving five life sentences. They told investigators they carried out their attacks on a whim – deciding only two days earlier to join the ranks of terrorists with innocent blood on their hands.
But today was a day to remember the victims.
Those paying respects gathered around the Fogel home where a scribe wrote the last letters of a Torah-scroll on special parchment in memory of the family.
From there, a procession led the Torah scroll to “Mishkad Ehud,” or the “House of Ehud,” the new religious seminary (yeshiva) building dedicated today in the Fogel father’s memory. Ehud – known as Udi to his friends – was a rabbi who taught at the Itamar yeshiva, a making the building’s naming a fitting tribute.
The Torah was placed in the sanctuary’s holiest spot, the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark) facing Jerusalem after a celebration for the yeshiva’s dedication that included dancing.
In his speech, Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin called on the government to allow more building in Judea and Samaria settlements. He said:
“We must build the Land of Israel in its entirety, every day.”
Transportation Minister Katz echoed that sentiment:
“I commit to you that many Itamars are yet to be established here in Samaria, in Binyamin, in Judea, and in all parts of the Land of Israel and that’s the real answer, not by convincing because we can’t convince them, rather by doing.”
Frank Mecklenburg, a freelance journalist who lives in a nearby settlement and visits Itamar frequently shared his feelings with The Blaze:
“It is a time of mixed emotions. There is still much sorrow for the Yartzeit (anniversary of the date of passing) and the joy of dedicating a new Yeshiva building and Torah Scroll. The Israeli government has dampened the occasion by granting permission for villagers from the Arab village of Arwata to enter Itamar to care for some olive trees. This is the same village that sent the murderers of the Fogel family.”
And on Wednesday night Glenn Beck spoke about the Fogel family murder one year later:
Udi and Ruth Fogel were among those forced to leave their homes in the Gush Katif settlements in 2005 when the Israeli government under then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. They moved to a trailer neighborhood in Ariel, the largest Israeli settlement in Samaria, and from there they moved to Itamar.
Amir Yosman moved his family to Itamar as an act of solidarity after the murders and now works at the yeshiva. He explains that the building’s tent shape is meant to evoke the memory of the biblical patriarch Abraham who welcomed guests into his tent and was renowned for his hospitality. Yosman tells The Blaze:
“People always say settlers are an ‘obstacle to peace.’ We wanted to show a symbol of peace and hospitality.”
One cannot imagine – or doesn’t want to imagine – what’s in the heart of surviving children Tamar, 13, Roi, 8 and Yishai, 3, now one year without mother, father and their three siblings. What it’s like to be back at the place they used to call home, the place marred by a horrific crime. It was Tamar who entered the house and discovered the bloody scene that fateful Friday night. They now live with their grandparents in Jerusalem.
Leah Goldsmith, the wife of Itamar Mayor Moshe Goldsmith and a neighbor of the Fogels, described the one year milestone as an emotional experience but also a time for spiritual reflection. She tells The Blaze:
“There are three aspects of holiness: the holiness of time – a full circle of one year has passed… the holiness of place – the Fogels after being thrown out of their home in Gush Katif, they picked the heart of the land of Israel as their home because they wanted to be connected with the core of our Jewish identity and the holiness of people … the people of Israel have been through terrible times and our enemies are making a concerted effort to erase us, but they can’t do that.”
And late Wednesday (Israel time), Ynet reported that at least 20 babies have been named after the Fogel family members in the past year, a small gesture that though they may be gone, their names live on. More photos and video can be seen at Arutz 7′s Hebrew website.
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