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Memorial for 20th Anniversary of Worshippers Way Attack

12 people were killed while bravely rushing into help worshipers who were targeted coming from from prayers.

11.12.22, 15:05
(Photo: Israeli TV personality and Hebrew language expert Dr. Avshalom Kor speaks at the memorial.)
 
A special evening was held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Worshipers Way. It was attended by bereaved families of those who fell defending worshipers praying at the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron. Commanders and soldiers in the IDF Judea and Samaria Division, local elected officials and others attended the event which was held at the Cultural Center in Kiryat Arba.

It was moderated by Dr. Avshalom Kor, the award-winning Israeli linguist who hosts a daily radio show on Galey Tzahal and a weekly TV show on Channel 1.
 
The 2002 terrorist ambush left 12 people dead and over a dozen wounded. Members of Islamic Jihad waited in ambush, threw grenades and opened fire at a group of Jewish worshipers coming home Friday evening from prayers at the Cave of the Patriarchs. .” A large stone memorial with the names of the 12 victims now stands at the beginning of the path that connects Kiryat Arba and Hebron. Both soldiers and civilians were killed in the attack, including a Bedouin-Israeli, immigrants from France and Ukraine. and Col. Dror Weinberg, a prominent IDF commander. Weinberg was mourned as a leader who managed to establish good relations with both the Jewish and Arab residents of the city.
 
Awards were given at the event to honor those who rushed to the rescue of the most recent terrorist attack in the city, which took the life of 50-year-old Ronen Hanania one month ago.

The members of the standby squad, security forces, and medics, were honored for rushing to the scene when a terrorist opened fire at a grocery store by commander of the Yehuda Regional Brigade, Lt. Col. Yishai Rosilio. They included
Lemuel Weisscot of the Kiryat Arba Brigade, Benaya Sharbatov of the Golani Brigade, Yoni Bleichbard of the Jewish community of Hebron, Israel Lior of the medical center, and Ofer Ohana of the emergency medical team who was injured in the attack. A special certificate was given to Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, long-time public servant and former mayor of the Jewish community of Hebron.

In his speech, Dr. Kor mentioned the Biblical story of King Saul, whose songs fell in battle. Following the ascension of King David, Hebron was declared the capital city. “Dear audience, here in Hebron the beginning of David's kingdom, the royal line of the people of Israel began,” he stated. “Our connection with the city of Hebron embodies within it the story of our roots as the people of Israel in the Land of Israel. It is a story of heritage, unity and mission.”

He continued to discuss the significance of Hebron in the Biblical story of the twelve spies, David Ben-Gurion’s desire to control the strategic Hebron Hills region in 1948, and the dramatic liberation of Hebron in the Six Day War without firing a single shot.

Dr. Kor compared the 2002 ambush in Hebron to the battle of Tel Hai in 1920 in which Yosef Trumpeldor and his comrades fell. Berl Katznelson, the Hebrew poet and Labor movement leader, wrote: "Do not be silent and do not be comforted, and let the mourning not end - until the day comes, when Israel will return and redeem its plundered land! So let our oppressors know: you do not frighten us! It was not by your kindness that the land was given to us, and it was not by your deceitful malice that you wrest it from us. You can't help us. With our heads we will smash the iron bolts."
“This is what Berl Katznelson said 102 years ago,” noted Dr. Kor. “We have become stronger since then. But we lost the best of our sons, our brothers, our parents. This evening we remember, more than ever, our loved ones - who fell when they jumped to defend Kiryat Arba -- that is Hebron. Twelve soldiers, commanders and members of the security forces who fell in battle in Worshipers Way.”

Background

The attack occurred on November 15, 2002 during a prolonged assault on civilians by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups, in what was termed by many Israelis as the Oslo War, and by media as the Second Intifada. Nine soldiers and three civilians were killed when terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at a group of Jewish worshipers as they were walking home from Sabbath Eve prayers at the Cave of the Patriarchs. Security personnel returned fire and pursued the attackers in a battle lasting some 90 minutes. Three terrorists were killed. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

The following are the twelve people killed in the attack.

Alexander Zwitman
 
Alexander Zwitman, 26, of Kiryat Arba, was an immigrant from Ukraine who served as a member of the Kiryat Arba security unit and was a volunteer member of the community's emergency response team. He was killed with two other members of the team when they responded to the sounds of fighting and went to help and to rescue wounded.
 
Zwitman, his wife, Leda, their parents and son, Eyal, age five, were celebrating Leda's birthday when the attack began. "He kissed me and told me how much he loved me," said Leda. "I went to bring something from the kitchen and returned to see he had already left, and I understood he had gone to the incident." Half an hour later, three men appeared with the news of his death. He was buried with two other members of his team in a military ceremony at Har Hamenuhot Cemetery in Jerusalem.
 
Netanel Machluf

Border Police St.-Sgt. Netanel Machluf, 19, of Hadera, graduated from high school with honors and then worked for about six months at Hillel Yaffe hospital. He enlisted in the Border Guard and completed a commanders course which he finished with honors and was assigned to Hebron. His parents dedicated a Torah scroll in his memory at a synagogue in the Nahaliel neighborhood of Hadera. In 2006 a public garden named after him.
 
Samih Sweidan

Border Police Chief-Superintendent Samih Sweidan, 31, of Arab al-Aramsha, was the operations officer of Hebron's Border Police unit and took command of the battle until he was killed counterattacking the terrorists shortly after the firing began.
 
Sweidan served in the paratroops and took an officer's course before joining the Border Police. His company commander, Sudki Dabor, said Sweidan was a brave soldier who took part in many battles and was wounded in one, but recuperated and returned to the front line. "He didn't know the meaning of fear. No one in the village knew of his prowess -- he used to take his uniform off when he came home." He was a role model for his men, Dabor added.
 
Ch.-Supt. Samih Sweidan was buried at the Arab al-Aramsha Military Cemetery. He is survived by his father, six brothers and sisters, wife Ruhiya, and sons Salman, four, and Imran, two.
Danny Cohen
 
Lt. Dan Cohen, 22, of Jerusalem and his troops, who were stationed outside Hebron, arrived in the city after the battle began to help evacuate the wounded. He was shot and killed while directing his armored personnel carrier to assist a group of soldiers pinned down by sniper fire.
 
Dan, who was named for an uncle killed in the Yom Kippur War, graduated from yeshiva high school in Efrat and the religious kibbutz yeshiva at Ein Zurim. He joined the Nahal, where was a platoon commander, and was due to be discharged in August.
 
"Dani was an officer who truly and simply just loved his soldiers," recalled his commander, Lt.-Col. Eran Niv. "He told me, 'I don't want to be a company commander; I want to stay close to my troops.' "
 
His father, Yehuda, said: "Dani was a wonderful boy, very sensitive, a boy who always loved to help. Such a serious and high quality boy has come to his end and we return him to his Creator."
 
Lt. Dan Cohen is survived by his parents, Yehuda and Nava, and older sisters, Meirav and Ronit. He was buried at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery.
 
Dror Weinberg

Col. Dror Weinberg, 38, commanded the Hebron Brigade, was an outstanding field officer and was slated to become commander of the Paratroop Brigade.
 
Weinberg was mortally wounded while leading his troops, who arrived at the scene of the attack a short time after the first shots were fired. He died in the field despite efforts to resuscitate him.
 
Most of Weinberg's military service was in the Paratroop Brigade and the elite General Staff Reconnaisance Unit, where he was a team commander. He also commanded a paratroop battalion, an elite Maglan unit, and a reserve brigade. He was appointed commander of the Hebron Brigade last year.
 
OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky said that Weinberg had served in a number of senior field positions "and all of them with excellence and in a way that so characterized him: determination, absolute faith in the justice of his cause, leadership ability, and remarkable self-control especially in difficult and developing situations -- and with all this, with a wonderful sensitivity for human life and feelings. In a symbolic way, he was killed directly defending what he so much believed in: providing security for the Jewish residents of this region, just as in any other place where he was responsible."
 
Col. Dror Weinberg was buried in the Kfar Sava Military Cemetery. He is survived by his pregnant wife, Hadassah, and five children: a son Yoav, 14, daughter Yael, 11, and sons Eitan, eight, Yishai, five, and Uri, three. Hadassh gave birth to a baby boy in April: "This is the special gift Dror has left me," she said.
 
Yeshayahu Davidov
 
Border Police St.-Sgt. Yeshayahu Davidov, 20, of Netanya, was a medic in the Border Police's Hebron battalion, Davidov was killed while trying to treat and extricate the wounded.

Davidov immigrated with his family from Azerbaijan in 1990 and settled in Netanya. He graduated high school with distinction and volunteered to perform his compulsory service in the Border Police. "He really loved the Border Police and was addicted to serving in the territories," said a cousin, Matityahu Ya'acobov. He was due to be discharged in six months and intended to study law.
 
St.-Sgt. Yeshayahu Davidov is survived by his parents, Moshe and Sonya, a sister, 21, and brother, 11. He was buried in the Netanya Military Cemetery.
 
Gad Rahamim

Border Police Sgt. Gad Rahamim, 19, of Kiryat Malachi, was killed while trying to extract a wounded comrade from the line of fire. "He had rescued one soldier when he was hit," said an uncle, Eli Garby. "Despite his wound, he volunteered to rescue his operations officer, who was wounded in the second volley. His comrades tried to keep him from going there, but he insisted and was killed in a burst of fire."
Rahamim had received a certificate of recognition just four months before for helping to capture the second most wanted terrorist in Hebron. He had served in the Border Police for 15 months. "He was a faithful ambassador for the Border Police in Kiryat Malachi and recruited a lot of youths," said Garby.
 
"He was not afraid of anything," said best friend Effi Elian. Rahamim had joined the Border Police 14 months before after graduating from Kiryat Malachi's comprehensive religious high school. Elian saw him for the last time a week ago. "He was a quiet guy, a serious, intelligent, giving man," he said. "He persuaded me to join the army even though I didn't want to."
 
Sgt. Gad Rahamim is survived by his parents, Tzila and Rahamim, a sister Liat, 17, and two brothers, Nir, 12, and Avi, five. He was buried at the Kiryat Malachi Military Cemetery.
 
David Marcus

St.-Sgt. David Marcus, 20, of Ma'aleh Adumim, served in the Nahal and was one of three soldiers killed in the first burst of fire by the terrorists, who were disguised as Jewish worshipers.
 
Marcus immigrated from Russia six years ago with his father, Immanuel, and brother, Vitali, who is a warrant officer in the Armored Corps. The family lives in Ma'ale Adumim, but Marcus's mother, Frieda, remained in Russia.
Vitali related: "David would tell me every day on the phone that everything was alright and that the settlers gave them fruit and drinks and that the whole sector was quiet. But I never believed him. I always knew that he was in danger, but he didn't talk about it with us so we wouldn't worry.
 
St.-Sgt. David Marcus is survived by his parents, Immanuel and Frieda, and brother, Vitali. He was buried at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery.
 
Tomer Nov

Border Police Sgt. Tomer Nov, 19, of Ashdod, was conscripted eight months before and chose to do his compulsory service in the Border Police. He was killed by a burst of fire when he left his jeep to return fire.
 
His elder brother, Guy, 31, said he had wanted to serve in the Border Police since he was 16 and looked forward to a career in the police. "He wanted to be a lawman, that was his dream. If you called and asked him for help, he would come to help immediately, even if he didn't know you. When he came home on leave once every three weeks, he'd ask me for NIS 20 to go out with, then use the money to put gas in our father's car."
 
His girlfriend for the past four years, Inbal Shtar, a border policewoman, said: "When he finished school, he simply insisted on doing combat service, even though he had asthma."
 
Sgt. Tomer Nov was buried in the military section of the Ashdod Cemetery. He is survived by his parents, Lea and Moshe, his brother Guy, and sister Limor, 28.
 
Igor Drobitsky

Sgt. Igor Drobitsky, 20, of Nahariya, served as a medic in the Nahal Brigade in Hebron and died trying to treat and evacuate his wounded comrades.
He immigrated to Israel with his parents, Genadi and Eva, in 1996 from Birobidjan, Russia, and settled in Nahariya. After graduating from the naval academy in Acre and training as a medic, Drobitsky was posted to Hebron a week before the ambush.
 
"He loved looking after people and planned to become a qualified nurse after the army," said a friend, Danny Slutzky. He also played the guitar and loved jazz.
 
Drobitsky was concerned that his mother would worry, and so told her that he served in a base near Tel Aviv. "Igor was a true patriot, and felt that his serving in Hebron would protect the country," said his brother, Roman, 27. "I've lost a dear, beloved brother and a good and pure man."
 
Sgt. Igor Drobitsky is survived by his parents and brother. He was buried in the Nahariya Military Cemetery.
 
Alexander Dohan

Alexander Dohan, 33, of Kiryat Arba, left his home with his colleagues in the emergency response team as soon as they heard shooting. After they reached the scene of the attack, Dohan managed to evacuate some of the wounded before he was shot and killed.
 
"He was always ready for any action," recalled a neighbor whose husband was a fellow response team member. "He volunteered and even when he wasn't on duty he carried his weapon so as to be ready for any eventuality. That was just his mentality -- Alex was a man who loved to help; a man with a special integrity, who didn't like to hurt anyone and was as straight as an arrow."
 
Dohan immigrated from France 16 years ago and moved to Kiryat Arba 10 years ago with his wife, Rivka. The two had four children. He worked as a computer programmer until the recession forced him to work full time in security.
 
Alexander Dohan is survived by his wife, Rivka, and sons Yehuda, eight, Eliahu, six, and Yohai, five, and daughter, Tehila, three. He was buried with two other members of his team in a military ceremony at Har Hamenuhot Cemetery in Jerusalem.
 
Yitzchak Boanish
 
Yitzchak Boanish (also spelled Buanish), 46, of Kiryat Arba, a veteran Kiryat Arba security officer, heard the sounds of fighting as he was having dinner with his family, and set out with his emergency response team to help and to evacuate wounded. The team managed to shoot at least one of the terrorists before Buanish was shot and killed.
 
As Kiryat Arba's security officer for 12 years, Buanish and had set up emergency response units in dozens of settlements. "Yitzhak was a man who talked little but did a lot," said a friend. "He was a symbol of heroism, determination, and courage. His death was a tough blow to the morale of all the inhabitants of the area, and a blow to security."
 
OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky called Buanish "a pillar of the region's security."
 
Yitzhak Buanish is survived by his wife, Rivka, and seven children: Ma'ayan, 20, Yehuda, Hedva, Naomi, Yohai, Noa, and Oz, three. He was buried with two other members of his team in a military ceremony at Har Hamenuhot Cemetery in Jerusalem.
 
NOTES:
 
 
HEBRON CONTACT INFORMATION
 
United States contact info:

http://www.hebronfund.org
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-677-6886
info@hebronfund.org
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Israeli contact info:
http://en.hebron.org.il/
02-996-5333
office@hebron.com
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(Photo below: Israel Defense Force Lt. Col. Yishai Rosilio honors those who rushed to aid terrorist victims at the October 30, 2022 terrorist attack.) 
1 Comments
1

Ced Grace commented:

Thank God for men and women who bravely protect their families and friends from danger.

16.12.2022 14:02