by: Ilse Posselt
Monday, 24 July 2017 | It was supposed to be an evening filled with joy. It was Friday night, and three generations of the Salomon family had gathered for Shabbat dinner at the home of grandparents, Yosef, 70, and Tova, 68, in Neve Tzuf, a community tucked into the hills of Samaria. As the elderly Salomons sat down for their meal surrounded by children and grandchildren, an atmosphere of celebration filled the home. Hours before, Yosef and Tova’s youngest daughter had given birth and following the Shabbat dinner, friends and family from the community would come over to the Salomon’s home to celebrate the arrival of their new grandson.
The knock on the door came right after the meal. The family opened, ready to welcome their first guests. Instead, they let in 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, armed with a knife and driven by hatred and incitement. The slaughter started within seconds.
Yosef, his son, Elad, 36, and daughter Chaya, 46, perished in the bloodbath that followed. Tova sustained serious stab wounds. Elad’s wife, Michal, escaped the attack. She managed to keep herself and their children safe in an upstairs room until help arrived.
Together with their five children, Elad and Michal had come to Neve Tzuf to spend Shabbat with Elad’s parents and celebrate the birth of their nephew. While the rest of the family remained in the kitchen after the Shabbat meal, Michal went to the living room to prepare for the party. This decision saved her life.
“I saw the profile of a person ploughing towards the kitchen,” she recounted the harrowing experience to Yediot Aharonot. “He did not see me and came directly at them. I heard him ask them in Arabic, “What is your name?” and I immediately understood that something was not right. That something bad was happening.”
Michal gathered her three oldest children and fled upstairs to where the youngest two were already sleeping. “It was important that I, first of all, protect the children no matter what. I started to hear shouts and screams. I held the door with all of my strength, because it was not locked. I lost my sense of time, but I did not let go of the doorknob. I called the police and reported the incident with all the children around me.”
“I heard horrible screams and gun shots, and after what felt like an eternity, I realized it was over. I went downstairs, saw Elad and realized that my husband was not among the living.”
An off-duty soldier heard the screams and rushed to the scene. “I was standing outside the house and I saw the terrorist from the window. I understood that I had to act cool-headedly and be professional. I fired one bullet at him, and it hurt him in the stomach and neutralized him,” the soldier, whose identity was not revealed, recounted.
“Mostly I was at the right place and at the right time,” he said. “We join the family in their grief and hug them. Personally for me, it is a complicated event. I am trying to focus on the fact that in the little that I did I prevented something that could have been a much worse event in a short amount of time.”
Al-Abed was taken to an Israeli hospital, where he received treatment. Over the weekend, a picture of the smiling young murderer lying on a gurney was circulated widely on social media. Al-Abed was released on Saturday afternoon and handed over to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for questioning.
Two hours before al-Abed set out for the slaughter, he shared his intentions on Facebook. “I love life and I love to make others happy, but there is no life after what you see in the Al-Aqsa Mosque… All that I have is a sharpened knife, and it is answering the call of Al-Aqsa. Shame on you [Jews], you who preach hatred. God will take revenge on you and will make it count. All of us are the sons of Palestine and the sons of Al-Aqsa. You, sons of monkeys and pigs, if you do not open the gates of Al-Aqsa, I am sure that men will follow me and will hit you with an iron fist, I am warning you.”
After updating his Facebook page, al-Abed walked the 3 kilometers (2 miles) from his home village, Kobar, near Ramallah to Neve Tzuf, carrying a knife he had purchased two days before the attack, a Koran and a few bottles of water. Expecting to die, he paused at the border of the community, where he “purified himself,” and then made his way to the Salomon’s front door.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his “deep sorrow” over the murders on Saturday night in a statement released right after the end of Shabbat. “This was an act of terror perpetrated by a human animal, infused with abhorrent hatred,” the statement read.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Salomon’s home on Saturday. He called on Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to issue “a clear condemnation of the massacre committed… against an innocent family that posed a danger to no one, a terrible slaughter carried out during the family’s Shabbat dinner.”
While Abbas remains mum, Hamas, the terror organization ruling the Gaza Strip, praised the attack as “heroic.” Moreover, Gazans responded to the news of the gruesome murder of three Jews by celebrating in the streets of the coastal enclave.
Al-Abed’s victims—Yosef, Elad and Chaya—were laid to rest yesterday afternoon in Modiin. Thousands of mourners from all over Israel attended the funeral. In a moving eulogy to her husband, Michal said, “You were a perfect husband; we could not have asked for any more. Now you are not here for me and it scares me.”
Friday’s attack comes at the end of a week marked by upheaval and unrest. The violence began the previous Friday, 14 July, when three Arab Israeli terrorists armed with automatic weapons and knifes exited the Temple Mount and murdered two Israeli police officers in the Old City of Jerusalem. The three terrorists died in the ensuing gunfight, two on the Temple Mount platform.
The terror attack sparked a ripple effect of violence and upheaval, with daily clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli security forces.
The Palestinians’ discontent stems from a decision made by Israel to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount to guard against weapons being smuggled onto the holy site. While the steps were taken to ensure both Palestinian and Israeli worshippers’ safety and prevent further attacks, the safety measure caused an outcry among Palestinians and Arab nations.
Last week, Palestinian political and religious leaders called on Palestinians across the country to flock to the gates of the Temple Mount to turn the Friday traditional Islamic prayers into a mass protest. In what Ynetnews called a deliberate exacerbation and already volatile situation, the Waqf, the Jordan-based Islamic trust responsible for daily management of the Temple Mount, also announced that all mosques in Jerusalem would close their doors last Friday, which would force Jerusalem-based worshippers to stream to the holy site for prayers.
According to Israeli media, three Palestinians died in clashes between rioters and Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and nearby towns and cities on Friday.
Posted on July 24, 2017
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 24 July 2017)
Photo Credit: Michael Oren/Facebook
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. All other materials are property of Bridges for Peace. Copyright © 2019.
Website Site Design by J-Town Internet Services Ltd. - Based in Jerusalem and Serving the World.