MK Dov Lipman, reading a letter from the family of terror victim Taylor Force at a small ceremony held at Ben Gurion Airport, March 11, 2016..
(photo credit: DOV LIPMAN)
A small ceremony was held at Ben-Gurion Airport early Friday morning in honor of United States veteran and terror victim Taylor Force, who succumbed to his wounds after a stabbing attack on Tuesday night in Jaffa. He was the only fatality.
Force, 29, had graduated West Point Military Academy in 2009 and was later deployed to the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he served as a field artillery officer. He later graduated Vanderbilt University at the Owen Graduate School of Management before coming to Israel this past month.
The intimate ceremony was attended by members of the US military, led by Lieutenant General Frederick S. Rudesheim, who is the US security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and representatives of the US embassy in Israel led by the Palestinian Authority. Also on hand was William Grant, deputy chief of missions.
The gathering was organized by former Yesh Atid lawmaker Dov Lipman. Upon his election to the previous Knesset, Lipman renounced his US citizenship as is required by law.
Lipman opened the ceremony by reading a letter from Force's sister, Kristen, on behalf of the family.
"Please convey our deepest appreciation to the Israeli people and government who have been so compassionate and thoughtful during the worst moment of our lives," the letter read. "Taylor was our world and our lives are forever changed, but knowing Israel mourns with us is comforting."
Grant shared a message on behalf of US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro. The ambassador strongly condemned the tragic terror attack and praised Taylor for using his skills learned as a US army man and becoming a hero on and off the battlefield.
David Simpkins, a fellow classmate of Force's at West Point who now resides in Israel, said that Force was a man "with no enemies" and was a person Simpkins seeks to emulate.
Simpkins asked people of all faiths to pray for the Force family. The dignitaries on hand then sang the US national anthem in Force's honor.
"May he who makes peace Above, bring peace to all of us," Lipman concluded, as he finished the ceremony with a Hebrew blessing.