Joseph’s Tomb victim was circumcised there

Thousands attend Ben-Yosef Livnat’s funeral in Jerusalem; Limor Livnat on nephew's death: "He was killed because he went to pray on Pessah."

April 26, 2011 01:49
3 minute read.
An IDF soldier and a Breslev hassid in Nablus.

Nablus shooting 311. (photo credit: Reuters)


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As an infant, Ben-Yosef Livnat was circumcised at Joseph’s Tomb – and on Sunday the 25- year-old father of four small children was killed there.

Speaking to the thousands of mourners who participated at Livnat’s funeral, his father Noam said, “You were my son, and now you are the son of Joseph.”

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In light of the Pessah holiday, no formal eulogies were given, but a number of people spoke to mourners at the funeral, which began in Elon Moreh in Samaria, where Ben Yosef grew up and his parents still live.

After a procession that lasted a number of hours, Livnat’s body, which was wrapped in a black and white prayer shawl, was lowered into the ground in the Mt. of Olives Cemetery in Jerusalem.

As the procession of cars wound its way through Samaria, a number of the mourners threw stones at Palestinian vehicles, and in one case, lit a car on fire.

As he stood by his son’s body, Noam thanked God for having deposited Livnat, nicknamed Benyo, with their family.

“God gave and God took away,” he said.

Individual revenge is not relevant in connection with his son’s murder, Noam said.

He explained that his son’s death was part of a larger history of violence perpetuated by the Palestinians against Israelis, and the revenge for all these deaths should be a collective one.

Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat (Likud), who was Ben-Yosef’s aunt, told reporters “my sister-in-law woke me up early and told me that her son was killed this morning at the hands of a terrorist dressed as a Palestinian terrorist,” she said.

“He was innocent, he was killed just because on the eve of Pessah he had woken up to pray.”

Samaria Regional Council head Gerson Mesika recalled how Livnat’s parents helped the family of Hillel Lieberman, who was killed by Palestinians in 2000, as he tried to reach Joseph’s Tomb.

“You now join the upper echelon of people who gave their lives for the tomb,” said Mesika.

“In a normal nation, the leaders would say that we have erred and we will not be satisfied with anything less than a return of the tomb to Israeli control,” he added.

Shocked and saddened by the death of Livnat, Hebron Jewish community spokesman David Wilder penned an e-mail in which he recalled the young man and his family.

Livnat’s father was severely wounded while serving in the IDF, according to Wilder. He subsequently helped create the Samaria settlements of Kedumim and Elon Moreh where he now lives, wrote Wilder. The elder Livnat also studied at the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva when it was located at Joseph’s tomb, wrote Wilder.

Early Friday morning, Wilder wrote, he awoke to a text message informing him of the shooting at the tomb.

“A little while later, arriving at Ma’arat HaMachpela [the Cave of the Patriarchs] for morning prayers, I asked a friend if he knew who’d been killed. When he answered Ben- Yosef Livnat I froze. Benyo, as he was known, had been my neighbor,” wrote Wilder.

“He had studied at Kollel Ohr Shlomo in Tel Rumeida for a few years. I saw him there every morning, studying ‘Hassidut,’ usually ‘Likutai Me’oran’ – the teachings for Rebbi Nachman of Breslav – with a ‘chevruta’ study partner, before the nine o’clock start of the regular day’s program,” wrote Wilder.

“During his last year in the Torah program, he moved with his wife and family to Beit Hadassah,” he continued.

“They lived in an apartment under ours for about a year, before moving to a Breslav neighborhood in Jerusalem,” Wilder wrote. “Benyo – Ben-Yosef, was one of six children in the family, and his name reflects the family’s bond with Joseph and Joseph’s tomb, where ironically, he was murdered.”

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