To prove that his daughter’s killing had not broken him, Raphael Levengrond returned to the office in the Barkan Industrial Park where she was shot to death in October and lit a Hanukkah candle in her memory on the third night of the holiday.
“Lighting a Hanukkah candle in a place where Jews were killed is the most Jewish thing to do,” Raphael told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday evening after the small ceremony in the Alon Group office that was organized by Rabbi Menachem Kutner, director of activities in the Chabad's terror victims project.
In honor of the event, the Alon Group built a special large silver menorah on which they hung photographs of the two victims of the October terror attack; Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel, 29, and Ziv Hajbi, 35.
The former Palestinian employee of the Alon Group Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alwa, 23, who killed his two Israeli co-workers, is still at large
“The Arabs will not defeat us. They will not break our spirit. I am not broken; I break others. To prove it, I lit a Hanukkah candle,” said Levengrond.
As he spoke, he helped one of his grandchildren put together a toy and watched Kim’s one-and-a-half-year-old son Kai play with two small toy cars on the floor.
Prior to his daughter’s death, he had come to the small office in the Samaria Region of the West Bank just once to have coffee with her. He came a second time, on the morning of his daughter’s death, when he raced to the site upon hearing of the attack believing he could save her.
Levengrond also returned for a ceremony there 30 days after the killing. “I still have yet to comprehend what happened,” he said.
But he has focused more on anger than grief, particularly at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the government and the IDF who he feels have not done enough to stop terror attacks, dismantle terrorist infrastructure or hold the Palestinian Authority accountable.
“I am not the only one,” he said, adding that the government has also abandoned the families of those Israelis held in Gaza.
Netanyahu talks all the time about the Palestinians paying terrorist, but he just allowed the transfer of $15 million into Gaza, Levengrond said.
“We are paying terrorists. What does he think they are using it for?” he asked.
When his Kim was alive, he always told her she could depend on him. At the time, he thought he meant he would come to her rescue if her car broke down.
Since her death, he has seen himself as a warrior on her behalf who will not rest until he believes that justice is done.
“My daughter’s blood is not water,” he said. This coming Saturday, he has organized a rally at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv at 8 p.m. for all those who, like him, see themselves as second-class citizens in the country.
Rafael Alon, the company CEO, said that his factory has reopened, but has not recovered from the attack.
“It’s too early. This was a horrible tragedy,” he said.
The group of some 20 administrative employees, who worked with Kim and Ziv, did not want to return to the office where the attack took place.
So he rented office space for them in Rosh Ha’ayin. The space where they worked remains empty, including Kim’s desk, which has been cleaned out and is now hidden behind a bookshelf.
The terrorist is not representative of the 250 Palestinians who work here, who are good people and who have continued to come here, Alon said.
“If I thought anything else, I could not come to work,” he said.
One of the Palestinian employees who was here at the time of the attack tried to help an Israeli woman named Sarah who was wounded, he said. Others would have killed the terrorist if they could have.
The attack was totally contrary to their interests, he said, explaining that the livelihood of the Palestinian workers is dependent on the success of the industrial park that employs both Palestinians and Israelis.
“I pay out some NIS 2 million in salaries,” he said.
“I always believed in co-existence,” Alon told the Post
, adding that the attack has shaken but not diminished that faith.
On the table by his office, the candles of a small menorah flickered. As the office shut down, the voices of a few workers singing a well-known Hanukkah song resounded in the hallway: “we have come to vanquish the darkness.”
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