Israeli Official at Funeral of Stabbing-Attack Victim: His Wrestling With Terrorist Prevented Greater Casualties
“The only comfort for the family is that Ofer prevented larger-scale carnage,” said Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabai at the Jerusalem funeral of a victim of a stabbing attack near the Jaffa Gate in the Old City, the Israeli news site nrg reported on Thursday.
Ofer Ben-Ari was killed on Wednesday in police crossfire, apparently while being stabbed and using his body to prevent one of the assailants from inflicting injury on other passersby. He is survived by two daughters.
At the funeral on Thursday afternoon, Gabai said he had known Ben-Ari since childhood. The Jerusalem-born minister is a co-founder and member of the centrist Kulanu Party, headed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
“Our excellent defense establishment cannot stop every terrorist that wakes up in the morning and purchases a knife. We can remain determined. We are a strong nation and we will stay here forever. This wave, too, shall pass,” said Gabai –in comments reported exclusively by nrg — before concluding, “May God avenge you.”
Ben-Ari was one of two Israelis killed in the stabbing attack committed by two Palestinian men, both of whom were shot by police and killed. The other victim was Rabbi Reuben Birmajer, an Argentinian-born Israeli citizen and father of seven, who was buried Wednesday night.
Israel has been confronting an incessant wave of stabbing attacks against security forces and ordinary citizens, mainly being committed by Palestinians of West Bank villages and Jerusalem.