Beersheba mayor: Our whole city is wounded

Thousands attend funerals of Beersheba bank shootout victims who were killed by a lone gunman.

May 21, 2013 21:39
2 minute read.
Mourners at the funeral for Anat Even Haim, killed in a shooting at a Beersheba bank, May 21, 2013.

Anat Even Haim funeral 370. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)


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“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.

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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 dentist.

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.

As TV 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.

She 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.”

As she 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.”

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