Peres at the Fogels 311.
(photo credit: Yosef Avi Yair Engel)
“What happened at Itamar has turned us all, heart and soul, into one family,”
President Shimon Peres told the closest relatives of Ehud and Ruthie
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The couple, together with three of their children Yoav, Elad and
Hadas, were butchered in their sleep by intruders who entered their home in
Itamar earlier this month.
Peres made the statement at the conclusion of
a condolence call to the Fogel and Ben-Yishai families on Thursday.
president’s heavy load of duties had prevented him making such calls during the
first week of mourning, aides said. He is still in the process of completing
visits of this kind to families of victims of the Carmel fires.
brutal murder of the Fogel family was the most despicable outrage experienced in
Israel to date, Peres said, adding that security forces have made it a priority
to find the perpetrators of the massacre.
He had no doubt, he said, that
they would be found and brought to justice.
Peres told the parents of
Ehud and Ruthie Fogel that he was full of admiration for the way in which they
had raised their children and grandchildren, yet at the same time, he was full
of sadness in the knowledge that there was nothing to comfort them in the face
of the horrible deaths of their loved ones.
“There is no comfort when
children have been murdered,” but even this murder would not deter the efforts
being made to strengthen Israel’s security, he declared.
Haim Fogel, the
father of the slain Ehud, said that his children had been educated with values
such as love for Torah, statehood and respect for the other, but it was
impossible not to notice the unfettered hatred of the other side. Politics
aside, with the focus purely on education, said Fogel, children are taught
hatred at school, and the upshot of that is what happened to his son,
daughter-inlaw and grandchildren.
“The murderers killed our children in
the most bestial fashion. But they are not beasts. They are human beings who
were taught to hate.”
Rabbi Yehoshua Ben-Yishai, the father of Ruth
Fogel, commented that no one can tell what his own fate will be.
personal level, we could not have imagined that a horror of this magnitude would
Ben-Yishai hoped that the robust Israeli attitude would help
his family and the nation to withstand new challenges.
He said that he
was most honored by and appreciative of Peres’s visit and of what he had said,
even though he has had differences of opinion with the president from time to
time. However, in the aftermath of the tragedy, the bereaved families had felt
the embrace of the nation. There was a sense of deep national identification,
and the families had received a huge volume of letters of condolence.
terrorist attack in Jerusalem and missiles from across the southern border were
evidence that Israel is once again being tested, Ben- Yishai told Peres, adding
praise for the president for speaking to people in unifying terminology that
overrides all differences.