US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides made condolence calls to the families of the three civilians killed in a terrorist attack in Ariel this week.
Nides visited the families of 36-year-old Michael Ledigin, a father of two who moved to Israel five years ago from Ukraine, and 59-year-old Mordechai Ashkenazi, both of Bat Yam, who were stabbed to death on Tuesday by an 18-year-old Palestinian terrorist. The terrorist then stole a car and rammed Tamir Avihai, 50, a father of six from Kiryat Netafim, a settlement near Ariel.
Continuing Nides's policy of visiting terror victims' families
The shiva call to Avihai’s family is Nides’s first visit to a settlement, though the US Embassy clarified that it does not reflect a change in his or the American position opposing settlement growth.
Rather, this was a continuation of Nides’s policy of visiting families who lost loved ones to terror, as he has done 20 times throughout the country following attacks on Israelis since he began his time as ambassador last year. One of the victims of the terrorist attack on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv this year was an off-duty guard for the embassy’s branch office in the city.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post earlier this year, Nides decried the “senseless loss of life” to terrorism, and said of visiting victims’ families: “I don’t think I’ve done anything as hard as that… This informed how I think about this country, about how small and how important it is, and most importantly, how we can’t let the terrorists win – that’s for damn sure.”
The visits, he said, are meant to tell the grieving families that America is thinking of them.