Anat Even Haim funeral 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
“There were four people killed in the shooting, but 200,000 were hurt, their
souls wounded by one murderer”.
Those were the words Beersheba Mayor
Rubik Danilovich chose Tuesday to describe the city in the wake of Monday’s
killing of four local residents at the hands of a lone gunman, describing a
wounded city trying to come to grips with the sort of random and senseless mass
shooting that is virtually unheard of in Israel.
The city has known
tragedy in the past – a Hamas double suicide bombing in August 2004 that took
the lives of 16 locals and injured over a 100, and the flare-ups in the south
that see the city battered by rockets from Gaza, the schools canceled and the
city brought to a halt.
Still, something about Monday’s tragedy was
different – a quiet afternoon in a quiet neighborhood, shattered by gunshots and
the loss of life.
“It’s so terrifying to think about how one second these
people were alive and the next they’re all gone,” said Eden, a young resident of
the Neveh Ze’ev neighborhood where the shooting at the bank branch happened, who
passed by a makeshift memorial outside the bank on her way back home from the
Outside the bank, dozens of memorial candles had been placed by
well-wishers, along with flowers and portraits of the victims – bank manager
Avner Cohen, Idan Schnitzer Sabari from Omer, deputy bank manager Meir Zeitoun
and Anat Even-Haim from Beersheba.
Onlookers complained about how the
bank branch opened for business on Tuesday, saying they should have kept their
doors closed for a couple days out of respect for the victims.
crews did live shots from the memorial site, a group of pre-teen boys kicked
around a soccer ball and swapped stories about the shooting, a few of them
bragging that they saw the shooter go into the branch, with one claiming that
the gunman pointed a pistol at him as he went in, a claim his friends didn’t
seem to buy.
At a kiosk across the street, three boxes of memorial
candles were stacked high in front of the counter. The attendant said that he’d
already gone through a couple cases and that “everyone who comes in here today
wants to buy a candle and go put it outside the bank, so I brought in more
candles from the storeroom.”
Another local, Oriana Enya, passed by the
site on the way home from the funeral of her friend Anat Even-Haim.
lit a candle for her friend, saying: “You can’t even put into words what type of
woman she was, always smiling, always making everyone happy.”
walked off to her home nearby in Neveh Ze’ev she said: “It makes it scarier that
it was right here, so close to home.”