Hundreds of people, including Education Minister Naftali Bennett and and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, gathered at the Jewish community of Havat Gilad on Wednesday afternoon to accompany Rabbi Raziel Shevach, z’l, on his final journey.
Mourners shouted down Bennett’s calls for mourners not to take the law into their own hands with shouts of “revenge!” while local religious authorities praised Shevach as a dedicated husband and father and rabbi who was passionate about the Torah and settling the Land of Israel.
Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi (and current Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem) Shlomo Amar said that Shevach was “an angel of God who created beloved souls here on earth, both your children and your students.”
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, Chief Rabbi of the Samaria District, added that he had met with Shevach during a Torah lecture two months ago and came to admire his insights.
“Dear Raziel, you were nothing but praise for God – as your named indicated. We are at war and you are a victim of that war. A war between the children of light and the children of darkness,” Levanon said.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau criticized Palestinian Authority leaders, asking why they failed to utter “one word of condemnation” for the attack.
The funeral took place under a cloud of uncertainty: Earlier in the day, Civil Administration officials said they would prevent Shevach’s widow, Yael, from fulfilling her husband’s request to be buried inside the community because there was no functioning cemetery. Residents responded quickly by clearing a patch of land inside the outpost to serve as a regional cemetery – a move they said should serve as a first step towards the authorization of the entire community.
Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council, described Shevach as a “man of kindness and love” who had an “enormous soul.” Turning to Shevach’s killers, Dagan warned that they would not break the Jewish People.
‘You sanctify death, but we sanctify life. You sanctify evil while we sanctify the Torah and the Land of Israel and the Jewish People. We will beat you, you bunch of wretched barbarians.”
Dagan also echoed calls by Agriculture Minister Ariel earlier Wednesday to “unleash” the army in order to more effectively prevent Palestinian Authority terror attacks.
“We have the best army in the world,” he said. “We demand that the army bring these killers to justice. We want our national pride restored.
“Mr. Prime Minister we demand that you announce full recognition – today – for Havat Gilad as a legitimate part of the State of Israel. Mr. Defense Minister, we demand your approval of 1,000 housing units here on the land that Moshe Zar has liberated here at Havat Gilad.
“This is what will stop the terrorists’ motivation. There is no price for six orphans,” Dagan said.