At funeral, father apologizes for not saving daughter from terrorist

With each scrape of the shovel and the thud of dirt, Chava called out to Kim, as if she could raise her from the dead with her love and sorrow.

MADA on the Barkan terror attack, October 7, 2018 (MADA)
“Is it logical that this is now your place?” Chava wailed in the dark as she watched mourners shovel dirt onto her daughter Kim Levengrond Yehezkel's freshly dug grave in the Rosh Ha’ayin cemetery late Sunday night.
Mourners crowded around the grave, which was lit by a temporary strobe light. With each scrape of the shovel and the thud of dirt, Chava called out to Kim, as if she could raise her from the dead with her love and sorrow.
“I refuse to accept that you are here,” Chava said. She continued speaking to her daughter, as mourners lay wreaths on her grave.
“Look how they have decked you out with flowers,” Chava said. Before leaving the cemetery she kissed her daughter's grave goodbye.
Kim, 28, had woken up that morning, dropped off her one-year-old son Kai at the daycare center across the street and headed to work.
But she never made it back home to Rishon LeZion, where she lived with her husband near her parents.
Shortly after she arrived at work at the Alon Group in the Barkan Industrial Park, a Palestinian gunman burst into her office on the second floor, killing her and her co-worker Ziv Hajbi, 35.
Her father, Rephael, heard of the attack and tried to call her.  When she failed to answer, he went to the factory where he learned of his daughter’s death.
At her funeral, Raphael apologized to his daughter for not arriving in time to save her.
“I want to tell you that I am sorry that I was not at your side. I have been at your side for your entire life," the grey haired man said. He wore a torn blue T-shirt and spoke into a hand held microphone as he stood next to the table where his daughter's shroud covered body lay.
Friends and family crowded around him, filled the small eulogy hall and spilled out in the courtyard.
"To my sorrow,” Raphael continued, “I did not arrive in time. When I did arrive, I saw what they had done to you. I promise you, I promise you that Guy and Kai will get everything they need and even more than that. I promise that I will take care of them. You can rest in peace,” Raphael said.
Kim’s husband Guy Yehezkel, sobbed and said, “I will never forget you. I love you. You will always be my best friend."
He promised to raise their son, exactly in the manner that she would have done.
Kim’s cousin Sapir said, “I always promised that I would watch out for you, but this morning I wasn’t able to do so. Your rolling laughter has gone away. I always wanted to be like you and learn from you. Now all that is left is my many memories of you. I will love your forever. Goodbye. You were the prettiest girl in the nursery.”
Among those who attended the funeral were Communications Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) and Likud MKs Oren Hazan and Yehuda Glick.
Ziv Hajbi, 35, a father of three, from Rishon Letzion, planned to celebrate his birthday this weekend. His family decided to donate his organs.
Ziv’s father told Kan News that his son has spontaneously decided to come visit him last Saturday morning.
“Apparently he came to say goodbye,” the father said.
His mother Iris told the media, “My son left for work, not for war.”
The family heard of the attack and tried to call him. When he didn’t answer they began to understand that he was one of the victims of the attack.
“What have I done wrong in my life that I am now going to bury my son?” his mother said.
Ziv will be laid to rest on Monday afternoon.
Zachary Keyser contributed to this report.