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Israel grieves after J’salem shul atrocity

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7 dead and many wounded at J’sem Shul Monday. Bibi promises to get tough, families taken in for questioning, homes to be demolished. See funeral pics and latest on the story. Israeli police are now starting to barricade sections of East and West Jerusalem which will hinder many businesses and movement of labour. Whereas the West Bank has been walled off, traffic between largely Palestinian East Jerusalem and the largely Jewish West has previously been allowed to operate without checkpoints.
by ANT KATZ | Nov 19, 2014

They all lived on the same street. They had all moved to Jerusalem from abroad. They were all rabbis. They all prayed at the same shul, the Jerusalem Shul that they were all murdered at on Tuesday morning.

Mosheh Twersky, 59; Kalman Levine, 55; Aryeh Kupinsky, 43; and Avraham Goldberg, 68, were killed when two cousins from eastern Jerusalem entered Bnei Torah Kehillat Yaakov, in the haredi Orthodox neighburhood of Har Nof, wielding a gun and butcher knives. The attackers, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, injured seven others before they were killed at the scene by Israeli police.

An Israeli Druze police officer - Zidan Saif, 30, of the Druze village of Kfar Yanouch in the Galilee - died Tuesday night of wounds suffered during the shootout with the assailants.

Twersky, Levine and Kupinsky were Americans. Goldberg was from England. All of the men were laid to rest Tuesday in Jerusalem.

Har-nof-1RIGHT: Israeli emergency services personnel gather blood and other human remains from the sidewalk for proper burial at the scene of an attack Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem on November 18 (photo credit: AFP/Jack Guez)

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu singled out one person for blame: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

In a statement issued by his office, Abbas denounced the Tuesday morning attack, saying he “condemns the killing of civilians no matter who is doing it”. But over the past few weeks, as a string of violent attacks have unsettled Jerusalemites, Abbas has issued statements some see as encouraging violence against Israelis.

In late October, he called for a “day of rage” over the temporary closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, saying the move amounted to a “declaration of war.” Days later he called the shooter of Jewish Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick a “martyr” in a letter to the attacker’s family.

“This is the direct result of the incitement being led by Hamas and Abu Mazen, incitement which the international community is irresponsibly ignoring,” Netanyahu said following the synagogue attack, using Abbas’ nom de guerre. “We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers.”

In the attack, the two Palestinians entered a synagogue in a Hareidi neighbourhood of Jerusalem and attacked worshippers with a gun and butcher knives.

The massive Tuesday funeral

“We are here, standing in front of these three holy men, the best of our community, Torah scholars whose blood flowed like water,” said Rabbi Yitzchak Mordechai Rubin, the chief rabbi of Bnei Torah, according to the Times of Israel.

Twersky, the head of the Toras Moshe Yeshiva, was the eldest grandson of the influential American Orthodox scholar Rabbi Joseph Soleveitchik. Twersky left behind his wife, five children and 10 grandchildren.

har-nof-funeral full THUMBNAILLEFT: The funeral was said to be one of the largest ever in Jerusalem – see full picture below the story


Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division and a student of Soleveitchik, knew Twersky for most of his life and told JTA “he was in every respect extraordinary”, noting “his kindness, his stunning brilliance”.

“He was a great scholar. You saw his devotion to his students and their love for him,” Genack said. “He was reserved, very insightful. He came from the most exalted rabbinic family and yet he was just so humble.”

Levine, who is survived by his wife, nine children and five grandchildren, grew up in Kansas City, Mo. He was born Cary Levine and attended the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy there. A friend told the Kansas City Star that he was a “gentle soul with a kind heart.” His son eulogised him on Tuesday as a diligent scholar.

“My father would study all day long and would return home at night only to learn some more until he would fall asleep in his chair,” the son said, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry. “Abba, you were in the middle of saying the Shema [prayer] when your soul left your body and the terrorists came and murdered you.”

Kupinsky, who also emigrated from the United States, leaves behind his wife and five children. He lost a daughter, Chaya Chana, who died in her sleep two years ago at 13. According to the Foreign Ministry, he was known to be very generous and was a daily worshipper at the synagogue.

Goldberg, who moved to Israel in 1993, is survived by his wife, six children and grandchildren. His friend from the neighbourhood, David Osborne, remembered him as devout and kind.

“He was the most wonderful person you could meet, a pillar of the community,” Osborne told the British Jewish News. “Avraham prayed there most days for the last 10 years or so. He was a devout Jew with no political agenda. All he wanted was to live a peaceful life.”

Following the news of Saif’s death late Tuesday, members of the Druze community praised his work as a first responder. “We are proud of our sons who act fearlessly on the front against terrorist attacks,” a Druze leader, Muefek Tarif, said, according to the NRG news site. “This is a dark day for the Israeli public and the State of Israel, a day when its citizens are murdered for their Jewish beliefs.”

The terrorists in Tuesday’s attack were identified as Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal, two Palestinian cousins, who had killed five and seriously injured many more.

 har-nof-funeral full

The funeral was said to be one of the largest ever in Jerusalem

 

5 Comments

  1. 5 Liat Janse van Rensburg 20 Nov
    With so many tribes, affiliations and traditions
    it is understandable that we sometimes forget where it all started.

    We forget that in the end we are One Nation.

    With al that has been happening in Israel over the
    past few weeks, it seems that the only time we are able to stand together is around a casket at a funeral.

    Shabbos is about connecting to Hashem and to our
    fellow Jews. No matter how much our opinions may differ on political issues. 
    If a Druze officer was willing to lay down his life to save the life of Orthodox Jews, how much more should we do to to reach out to those Jews outside of our immediate circle.

    LET’S CONNECT THIS SHABBOS

     

     

  2. 4 Denis Solomons 20 Nov
    An absolute atrocity .
    4 rabbis killed !
    Surely Abbas is behind it all .
    The whole of Israel is grieving !
    Bibi Netenyahu has got to improve security in the country.
    The police must work with the army !
  3. 3 Barry 20 Nov
    Ant. Since when is it appropriate to include the murderous terrorists in the death toll. 
  4. 2 Eleanor Perlin 21 Nov
    I pray that all Jewish South Africans unite in defense of Israel. 
  5. 1 Gary Selikow 24 Nov
    Eleanor Perlin, unfortunately we have to get rid of the traitors first 

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