Photo Credit: Frank Mecklenburg
Memorial held for Ron Kukia, z'l, in Arad, November 2018

The family and friends of a young IDF soldier murdered by two terrorists joined residents of Arad at the site of where the 19-year-old lost his life one year ago this week.

The memorial ceremony for Ron Yitzhak Kukia of Tel Aviv included youth lighting candles in memory of the young soldier, and a message of comfort and hope delivered by Mayor Nissan Ben Hamo.

Arad Mayor Nisan Ben Hamo delivers remarks at memorial for Ron Kukia, z’l, with his family standing alongside, November 2018
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Ron’s mother also read a message, albeit in tears. Yarzheit prayers were led by Rabbi Shlomo Monsonegro, the spiritual leader of local Sephardic synagogue Beit Rahamim.

A soldier from Ramat Gan who knew Ron spoke of his loss, but agreed that generally speaking, Arad is a very safe community.

A Bedouin mother was present as well to show her support for Ron’s mother, despite the fact that the terrorist attack was carried out by two Bedouin older teens.

“I thought she was brave to come to such a remembrance,” Frank Mecklenburg, head of the ACES English speakers’ group in Arad, told JewishPress.com. “I thought it was beautiful that the soldier’s mother was willing to speak to her. I would think that it would take some forgiving for her to do that.

“I cannot judge the moves of the Bedouin mother, but I always wonder how she or others really feel about the Jews. In a way it was beautiful to see, but the relationship between Jews and all Arabs is very much a concern.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.