Israelis Murdered in Tel Aviv Shooting Laid to Rest; ‘We Ask Forgiveness for Not Being Able to Save You,’ Friend Eulogizes
Hundreds of mourners attended the funerals on Sunday of the two young men murdered in Friday’s terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, Israeli news site nrg reported.
Alon Bakal, 26, and Shimon Ruimi, 30, were buried together, but separately, each in his home town during the wintry afternoon hours, as family members, friends, government representatives and even strangers wept in shock and disbelief at the latest murders of innocent Israelis in the surge in Palestinian – and in this case Israeli-Arab – terrorism that began in September.
Bakal, who was buried in Carmiel, had served in the elite Golani Brigade and was on the verge of completing his degree is law and business administration, before being gunned down in the pub where worked. He was soon to begin an internship with the prestigious law firm of Dov Weisglass – adviser to prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.
In his eulogy, Bakal’s father said:
How can a father write about a son who hasn’t yet turned 27? Aloni, with a giant heart of gold and a level head that always pushed you to achieve great heights… [But] you weren’t thinking only of yourself. You thought about giving – whether in distributing supplies for Holocaust survivors, or volunteering for the charity ‘Latet,’ in charge of collecting groceries from supermarkets [for the needy] …
Before moving to Tel Aviv, you lived in Netanya. Your bedroom window overlooked a park bench, where you noticed that every day at four o’clock three old women would sit and then disperse an hour later. One day, you noticed that only two arrived, and that continued for another day or two. So you made two cups of tea and brought them downstairs to the women and asked what had happened to the third.
That was Alon … charismatic… always a central figure who everyone fell in love with…
We are crushed; surrounded by darkness. From heaven, shed your soul’s light on our lives. Aloni, Aloni, Aloni, we loved you and will love you forever.
Ruimi had been living in Beersheba, where he worked as a shift manager for the cable company HOT.
“Instead of celebrating your birthday, we are burying you in the ground,” Ruimi’s aunt wept as she eulogized her nephew at his funeral in Ofakim.
Ruimi’s friend, Israel Vaknin, who was with him during the terrorist attack, said, “We were inseparable. We were best friends; we went through everything together, and together [in Tel Aviv] everything stopped. Everyone says about weekends that ‘we know how they begin and don’t know how they’ll end.’… In another month or so, we’ll be celebrating your birthday, but we won’t be laughing; we’ll be crying. [Standing] above your grave, we ask for forgiveness for not being able to save you – our ‘quintuplet’ [of friends] which became a ‘quadruplet.’”
Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis also eulogized Ruimi. “Shimon was murdered by a vile, bloodthirsty terrorist in our country, our homeland, solely for being a Jew,” he said. “All he wanted was to have a good time at a birthday party for one of his friends… what people of his age do: want to live their lives and be happy. But the terrorist, around the same age, wanted and celebrated death. This is the difference between us and our enemies, and the condemnation issued by the killer’s father is too late to help here.”
Akunis continued, “Shimon was murdered in Tel Aviv, which is not another state. In the eyes of the murderers, the fate of Tel Aviv is that of Hebron and that of Ofakim and that of Samaria. In the eyes of the killer, there is only one Israel, land from which we [Jews] have to be evicted…”
Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara, a Druze, also eulogized Ruimi. “I am among the few people in the government who supports the death penalty for the premeditated killers of innocent people, as in this case,” he said. “We are in a cruel Middle East and the Jewish people already sacrificed a lot, but unfortunately there are those in the Arab sector who want the rights [of Israeli citizens] but the obligations of Palestinians.”
Referring to the recent government decision to allocate billions of shekels to aiding Arab citizens of Israel – to minimize the socioeconomic gap between them and their Jewish counterparts – Kara warned, “I promise that the plan to aid the Arab sector will not be implemented without proof of loyalty from that sector…”
A similar, albeit less specific, sentiment was expressed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night, when he visited the scene of the attack.
“We will demand loyalty to the laws of the state from everyone,” Netanyahu said. “One cannot say, ‘I am Israeli in my rights and Palestinian in my responsibilities.’ Whoever wants to be Israeli, must be Israeli all the way, with rights and responsibilities, and the first and foremost responsibility is to follow the laws of the state.”
Meanwhile, police are continuing the manhunt for 29-year-old Nashat Milhem, the terrorist from a village in northern Israel who was caught on security cameras committing the shootings in Tel Aviv. Recognized by his father when the footage was shown on TV, he is still on the loose.