Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, who was killed in a terrorist attack at the Ariel junction in the West Bank on Sunday, was laid to rest on Monday after succumbing to his wounds.
Ettinger was shot after a terrorist stabbed IDF soldier Gal Keidan to death, stole his weapon and then opened fire on passing cars. Ettinger reportedly succeeded in returning fire, but failed to wound the terrorist. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but efforts to save him eventually failed. He left behind his wife Tamar and 12 kids, ranging in age from 21 to a year and a half.
According to Hebrew news site Walla, hundreds gathered in the community of Eli for Ettinger’s funeral on Monday.
Avraham Shiller, the head rabbi of Eli, eulogized Ettinger, saying, “Rabbi Achiad, you are…a hero and a fighter. … In your heroism, you are a messenger of all the Israeli people. … You are a hero of the love of Israel.”
“How will Tamar raise 12 kids alone?” Shiller asked. “How will Tamar lead them to the chuppah alone? How will 12 kids grow up without a father. … But we are all Mordechai the Jew. A Jew is a person who is tested by trials. We fall down and get up.”
The mourners also heard a recording made by Ettinger’s younger kids, in which they said, “We remember that every two weeks you would take us on an outing. You took us to the mall in Ariel. On every trip you taught us about animals, about flowers and trees. … I remember that father took us on a hike into the hills and we saw a special butterfly, and you told me what type it was. You bought us animals that we will raise and protect.”
Ettinger worked with residents of south Tel Aviv, and the kids remembered that “we would join you to shop in the shuk. You traveled early in the morning to Tel Aviv and taught Torah, and every evening you made sure to take one of us for a personal conversation. You always made sure to help. You were a holy human being. Every day that you returned from work you took all of us to teach or speak with.”
“Father, you were a hero,” they added, saying that during the attack, Ettinger tried to “save people.”
“You shot at the terrorist and thus saved many people,” they noted. “You were a precious father and we miss you very much.”
Ettinger’s second-oldest child, Efrat, also eulogized her father, saying, “Just now in the hospital, it became clear to me that you have students who still call you ‘father,’ who are not ready for you to stop raising them. How is it that you who brought so much life into the world are not here to live with us? The vile terrorist thought that he would take life, but he didn’t know how much life you left here, how much power you left us that will raise us together with the people of Israel. Only now do I understand how modest you were.”
“My father, you are a hero,” she added, “a true hero. Unto death you were for everyone, you were strong in spirit and body, and you used all of this for all of us. You didn’t see yourself, you saw us, the people of Israel. … I promise I will watch over mom, who you loved so much.”
Ettinger’s 18-year-old son, an IDF soldier, spoke of his father’s heroism as well, saying, “In your final moments, you fought, you did not give up. … I must ask your forgiveness for all the time I didn’t honor you, and the other thing is that I am unable to take your revenge because we still have life to live. I promise that I will continue your legacy. They may have taken you, but the spirit they cannot take. Thank you for what you were.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett was also present at the funeral, and said to the kids, “Your father was a hero in life and a hero in death.” Referencing the Book of Judges, Bennett said, “The lesson we can teach today is to make sure that every child in the State of Israel will look at Rabbi Achiad and say, ‘Look upon me, and do likewise.’”
“You conveyed your spirit as a hero of Israel,” Bennett added, and said to Ettinger’s kids, “It is true that we are strong and you will continue the path of your holy father and continue because this is what is done. Because this is what is done in Eli, in Judea and Samaria, and in all the Land of Israel. We are strengthened.”
“But the evil that strikes down the best of our people must be struck down,” he stated. “I say that Jewish blood will no longer be the cheapest commodity in the Middle East. We will strike down terror only when we liberate ourselves from our conceptual and legal bonds that prevent us from winning.”
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Author: Benjamin Kerstein
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