Thousands of mourners attend funeral of slain IDF soldier

Eden Atias, 18, laid to rest after Palestinian teen murders him in Afula; dozens protest continued peace talks amid terror.

Private Eden Atias (photo credit: Facebook)
Private Eden Atias
(photo credit: Facebook)
Eden Atias, the IDF soldier stabbed to death by a Palestinian teenager on a bus in Afula, was buried late Wednesday night at the military cemetery in Upper Nazareth, accompanied by hundreds of grieving relatives and friends.
Atias’s mother and siblings cried out over the grave, expressing their disbelief that the young man was gone.
Early on Thursday, a Palestinian home in the village of Sinjil, northwest of Ramallah, was set on fire in a suspected far-right attack, the IDF said.
The attackers spray-painted the words “Regards from Eden, revenge,” near the home.
Five Palestinians who were inside suffered from smoke inhalation, and were evacuated to hospital for treatment.
The home sustained heavy damage.
The IDF condemned the attack, saying it “distracted the attention of security forces from their main mission, which is to combat terrorism, and undermines the relative security in the area.”
Elsewhere on Thursday, close to 60 people held a protest against this year’s prisoner releases in a rally underneath the Chords Bridge in Jerusalem. While several protesters noted that the gathering was not in response to Atias’s killing, they said it probably contributed to the turnout at the protest. The protesters – many of whom were teenagers or children – held flags and posters and chanted slogans, receiving a steady chorus of honks of agreement from passing motorists.
The event did not appear to coincide with a speech by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which took place only a few hours later and several hundred meters away.
Israel Amitai, an IDF solider, came to the protest from his nearby base. He said his superior officer was one of the first responders to Atias’s stabbing and helped restrain the Palestinian suspect. He said he was “very happy to be here to see people showing that Jewish blood is not free.”
Yonah Rossman, 20, said he attended the protest to show the degree of popular displeasure over the releases.
“When [Netanyahu] makes the decision, he has to equate what’s worse: pressure from elements of the international community or pressure from his citizens,” Rossman said.
Gal Garashi, 18, agreed.
“We have to show people that we care,” she said, “to show the world that there is another side that’s being affected.”