Terrorist victim’s sister Michal: I want to scream,‘Don’t let violence prevail’

She reminded the mourners that Israelis these days had been attacked everywhere, while waiting for trains in Jerusalem, buses in Tel Aviv and in Gush Etzion.

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November 11, 2014 17:05
4 minute read.
Funeral of Dalia Lamkus

Funeral of Dalia Lamkus, 26, was stabbed to death on Monday evening. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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“Don’t stop hitchhiking,” said Michal Lemkus on Tuesday as she eulogized her older sister Dalya, 26, who was killed the day before in a terrorist attack at a hitchhiking post in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.

Michal said she was inspired by Dalya’s courageous stand to continue her normal routine, including hitchhiking, even after she survived a knife attack at the Gush Etzion junction in 2006 at age 17.

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“I want to scream out to everyone, to my nation and especially to myself: Don’t stop traveling on the roads, don’t give them the satisfaction [of knowing] that they have stopped us from living our lives,” said Michal.

As she spoke, she looked at her sister’s shroud-covered body, which was laid out on a gurney in front of her.

Hundreds of mourners had gathered in the park for the funeral that took place on Tuesday morning in the Tekoa settlement, where Dalya lived with her family. Her parents immigrated to Israel from South Africa before her birth.

The mourners stood under the bright sun, between two play areas for children, one with a swing set and one with slides and a toy climbing tower.

Michal recalled a conversation she had with Dalya after the 2006 attack.



“At the time, I asked how you could continue hitchhiking and standing at the same junction where you were stabbed and to do so with such inner strength,” Michal recalled.

“Your answer empowered me. You said, ‘Do you think I would let them defeat me?’” Michal recalled.

She reminded the mourners that the issue was terrorism, not hitchhiking, saying that Israelis these days had been attacked everywhere – while waiting for trains and buses in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and in Gush Etzion.

Dalya was one of six children in her family. She worked as an occupational therapist with kindergarten children and volunteered for the Yad Sarah organization.

Dalya wrote briefly about surviving a terrorist attack, in a talkback on the NRG website in 2006.

“On February 28 I stood at the Gush Etzion junction, when suddenly a terrorist appeared and started stabbing people who stood at the hitchhiking post. I was one of two people who were stabbed.

It was a miracle that I was not seriously wounded. The other victim is recovering, with God’s help,” she wrote.

When she was killed, Dalya had been standing at a bus stop, near the Alon Shvut settlement, just a short distance away from the spot of the first attack. She was on her way home to Tekoa.

The terrorist first ran her over with a van, wounding her. He then got out of the vehicle and stabbed her to death.

Dalya’s younger sister Miriam told the mourners that the moment she heard of the attack, she understood that her worst fears had been realized.

“I knew it was you. I called you and called you, but you did not answer,” she said.

She described a young woman who was dedicated to her family, known for her art and her baked goods and who organized her younger brother’s bar mitzva the month before.

Dalya’s older sister Shoshana recalled for mourners small and large memories from their shared childhood, such as trips to the sea and the zoo as well as the births of their younger siblings.

“You are already missed.

Where did you go?” Shoshana asked. “Come back. We still have many moments to share together.”

Shoshana recalled how Dalya had watched over her small daughter just on Sunday, so she could study for a test.

Now, she said to Dalya, “you will watch over her from above.”

Uri Schechter, a resident of the nearby settlement of Rosh Tzurim, wrote on his Facebook page that he had given Dalya a ride on Monday afternoon to the hitchhiking post.

He had been on his way home from a meeting in Modi’in, when he saw a young woman standing at the Shimshon junction by Route 38, with a sign that said “Gush Etzion.”

“I stopped and she got in the car. When she did, I saw that on the other side of her sign were the words ‘Kiryat Gat.’ I asked her with a smile if she wanted to go to Gush Etzion or Kiryat Gat.

“She told me she lived in Tekoa and worked in Kiryat Gat,” Schechter said.

She described her job to him and spoke of her love for small children.

“We continued to talk as we made our way to the Gush. I dropped her off by the Alon Shvut junction and turned in the direction of Rosh Tzurim,” he said.

“She thanked me as she got out of the car and I wished her a good journey.... I never imagined that after a couple of minutes, a terrorist would come and kill her,” he wrote.

After the funeral, a number of Dalya’s friends and neighbors sat on the grass in the park in Tekoa. One young man played guitar, and the others sang “We shall overcome.”

A short distance away in Jerusalem, Sgt. Almog Shiloni, 20, of Modi’in, was buried in the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery. The young soldier was stabbed to death by a Palestinian outside the Hagana train station in Tel Aviv on Monday.

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