“My love for you is as big as the sky,” Sima Avrahami said on Friday, seconds
before fainting as she eulogized her husband, Paskal, at the Mount Herzl
Military Cemetery in the capital.
The most veteran member of the Israel
Police’s Counterterrorism Unit, Senior Warrant Officer Paskal Avrahami, 49, was
killed in a firefight with terrorists near the Egyptian border north of Eilat on
He was one of eight Israelis killed in the triple
Click here for a timeline of the attack
Eilat terror victims laid to rest around country
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“You wouldn’t believe how many people came to your funeral,” Sima
said as she looked out at the thousands of mourners crowded by the grave. “There
was no one like you. You were unique. I will love you until the day I die and we
meet in heaven.”
After a few moments, her legs buckled. Her sons and
friends kept her from falling.
They handed her a water bottle and placed
a plastic chair underneath her; she didn’t rise again to speak.
and family eulogized Paskal for over half an hour, and commended him for his
bravery during more than a quarter century of service with the
“How the mighty have fallen,” a senior police officer said. “We
are standing here with our heads bowed in pain and shock at the loss of the No.
1 fighter in the police.
“Yesterday after hearing of the attack, you
jumped to the scene with your friend. You did not stop to think, you did not
ask, ‘Why me,’ you simply entered a helicopter and went to the site of the
“We all know that with your bravery you saved lives.
gave your life in defense of the country you so loved.
It is not for
nothing that you have a legendary reputation.”
Avrahami made aliya from
France in 1977 and lived in the capital’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood.
entered the police in 1985, excelled in everything he did and was often involved
in dangerous situations, the senior police officer said. He was awarded medals
of valor for stopping terrorist attacks, once in 1990 and again in
“A generation of fighters have grown up listening to stories about
you,” the officer said. “Those who didn’t know you wondered how it was that
someone that old was still in the police.”
Older members of the force who
knew Avrahami said they would only retire one day after he did, the commander
“You lived as a warrior, you died as a warrior. You were the pillar
of fire at the head of the camp,” he said.
Wearing a torn black Tshirt,
Avrahami’s son Tal struggled to find the words to describe a father who he said
was more heroic than any legendary figure in the movies.
“My dear father,
I do not believe I am writing to you. It is the first time I have written
something you,” he said.
“How do I even start?” Tal asked. “I will try to
be strong now because I think that is what you would want me to do, but I am not
sure that I will succeed.
“We already miss you, your smile, your warm
embrace, your eyes, the person that you were,” he said.
“You can not
imagine how hard it is to lose you, to think of passing each day without you.
You were what strengthened us.
“How can you be strong when the person you
love is gone,” Tal asked. “Why does God always take the best? He doesn’t have
enough good people with him?” He spoke of his father’s refusal to retire from
“Each year you said, ‘I’ll retire next year.’ But you never
left. You stayed,” said Tal, as he explained that his father always downplayed
his activities in the police to the family.
“You always said nothing
happened when you came back from work, but your voice said that it had,” Tal
said. “You died the death of a hero.”
Paskal’s father said that his son
had not fallen, he had left.
A half hour before they went into battle on
Thursday evening, Paskal Avrahami and other members of his Counterterrorism Unit
spoke with Defense Minister Ehud Barak near the site of the
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Public Security Minister Yitzhak
Aharonovitch, acting French Ambassador Nicolas Roche and France’s Deputy
Consul-General in Jerusalem Olivier Flanson attended the
Avrahami is survived by his wife, three sons – Tal, 25, Matan,
20, and Ohad, 18, and his parents.