June 29: This afternoon, Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri – son, brother, grandson, yeshiva student, friend – was buried on the Mount of Olives, the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world.
Thousands flocked to the funeral home in Jerusalem’s Sanhedria neighborhood to pay their respects and listen to the eulogies for the 18 year old, who had been shot in the head shortly after he was abducted by Arab terrorists last Sunday. His burned body was found near Ramallah early today.
No government official was anywhere to be seen in the mostly Orthodox crowd. A few public figures, including Knesset member Effie Eitam, Rabbi Yitzhak Levy and former Prisoner of Zion Yosef Mendelevich, were present, but the overwhelming majority of mourners were teenagers, many sporting the orange ribbons of solidarity with the dispossessed of Gush Katif.
All through the eulogies, the sobbing of Eliyahu’s four siblings could be heard over the amplification system. The crowd stood quietly in front of the grey stone funeral hall under the early afternoon sun.
There were no shouts for revenge; no machine guns fired into the air; no religious figures whipping up the crowd into a frenzy of hatred. Only the soft sounds of weeping from dozens of girls and women and the flipping of pages of Tehillim (Psalms) as speaker after speaker poured out anguish at the loss of another young soul to the barbarity of Arab terror.
Several of the rabbis emphasized that the pain of Eliyahu’s loss is not just the pain of the family and those who knew him, but a national pain. “We here are just representatives of the Jewish people,” said the rabbi of Eliyahu’s community of Itamar. “Everyone must cry out,” he sobbed.
Benzi Lieberman, the head of the Regional Council incorporating Itamar, noted that in the picture circulated after the kidnapping, Eliyahu embodied love of the land. He was pictured sitting on a beautiful hill in Samaria.
Lieberman excoriated the Olmert administration for continuing to push further unilateral withdrawals from Judea and Samaria even after Eliyahu was kidnapped and his fate was unkown. “Olmert can’t protect our lives in Sderot, Ofra or Itamar,” Lieberman proclaimed. “We who ran out of Gaza, Gaza will run after him…” he added.
The entourage accompanied Eliyahu to his final resting place on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Temple Mount.
“We’ll continue to build on our only land with your intercession in heaven, Eliyahu. We’ll continue on the process of redemption,” vowed the final euolgizer before Yitro Asheri managed to recite the first Kaddish for his first-born son.