Katz Nahari 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Dishes full of chicken bones, desiccated carrots and a half-eaten cake – remains
of the Fogel family’s last meal together – still sat on the kitchen counter as
MKs from the Land of Israel caucus visiting the settlement of Itamar filed into
the home where five members of the family were stabbed to death on Friday
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Purple forensic chemicals were still splashed on the walls and
children’s toys were scattered across the floor of the cramped living room as
the parliamentarians paid their visit, showing solidarity and hearing from
residents what they wanted the government to do in the wake of the
The dozen parliamentarians were part of a Knesset forum
comprising 30 MKs from seven parties and chaired by Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and
Aryeh Eldad (National Union).
Before the MKs said Kaddish in the Fogel
living room, Elkin told reporters that the attack illustrated that “anyone who
thinks that handing over responsibility for security in this area to the
Palestinian Authority will prevent the next murder here is wrong.
second thing that is very clear in this house is that this settlement must grow
and develop and it is the responsibility of the government to make this happen,”
Nearly every resident of Itamar, which has lost 22 members to
terror attacks in the 26 years since its founding, described feeling abandoned
and vulnerable, saying the settlement was an exposed target lacking a proper
fence or enough IDF back-up to provide security for residents. They also spoke
of their desire for the government to overrule Defense Ministry decisions that
have restricted the settlement’s construction plans.
During a press
conference at the Itamar community center, one resident, who identified himself
as Yoel, told the politicians that residents felt the IDF had abandoned
“We feel almost completely alone. This is causing a fissure in
terms of our love of and belief in the country. And then we open the
[newspapers] and read that the failure was in the settlement’s security
This is not at all true, and it is something that is seriously
harming residents’ sense of security,” he said.
“We know that our system
did not fail.
What has failed is that there hasn’t been an approval of a
full security system and fence like there are on all the other settlements in
the area,” he continued. “We need an entire, full security system. We need that
the State of Israel, for which we feel like full emissaries and pioneers, must
provide us with a complete security system.”
Hagar Zar, the widow of
Gilad Zar, the former security chief of Itamar who was murdered by terrorists in
a 2001 shooting attack, described a feeling of silence and helplessness in the
settlement. She also spoke of the frustration she feels when the government and
the media talk about allowing construction in the settlement blocs to continue,
but not in far-flung settlements like Itamar.
“I have lived here almost
27 years. I am raising eight orphans. My daughter said to me, they [the
murderers] entered silently, left silently, and will remain silent.
feel everywhere a feeling of a house of death, absolute silence,” Zar
When it came to government support of construction in the
settlement blocs, she added, “this is a knife in the back of the settlement of
Itamar, because when they say that they will allow building there, they are
saying clearly that here they will not allow us to build. I want Ma’aleh Adumim
to grow, but why deny us?”
After they left Itamar, the MKs went to the home of
Haim and Zila Fogel in the settlement of Neveh Tzuf, where they are sitting
shiva for their five slain children and grandchildren. They have taken in Tamar,
12, Roi, 8, and Yishai, 2, their three grandchildren who survived the attack.