Hundreds attend Dudu Topaz funeral

Reporters booed by funeral attendees; Topaz's son: "I will never be ashamed to say he was my father."

Hundreds of people paid their last respects to entertainer Dudu Topaz, 62, at Tel Aviv's Yarkon Cemetery on Friday morning. The former TV star strangled himself in his jailhouse bathroom on Thursday. Much criticism has been directed at the media by relatives and friends for the coverage of Topaz's arrest, and that sentiment was evident at the funeral as well. Attendees booed press representatives at the beginning of the service before being silenced by Topaz's brother, Miki Goldenberg, who asked them to show respect. But Goldenberg himself had difficult words for the press, saying during the ceremony, "The media didn't kill Dudu, the media killed our people, because they conduct themselves worse then those sitting in prison." "I saw my brother five minutes ago, and he's not as good looking as he was, because he donated things from himself so that others will be able to see the world," Goldenberg said, referring to the family's decision to donate Topaz's corneas. "Dudu, I don't know a minute of my life without you," he said. "Father asked me to take care of you always. I'm sorry that I couldn't. In the end they wouldn't let me near you and I couldn't keep you safe." Topaz's son Daniel eulogized him, saying, "I will never justify his actions, but I will never be ashamed to say that my father was Dudu Topaz." "For every 10 years of giving and sacrificing there was a month that was a little different," he said. "I just know who my father was. He was a good man who did himself good by doing for others... He was always the 'First in Entertainment' and will always be the king of ratings for us." Topaz had been awaiting trial for hiring men to beat up several media executives and talk show hosts who had rejected his ideas for television programs. His alleged victims included Shira Margalit, deputy CEO of the Reshet television company, Avi Nir, director-general of the Keshet company, and actors' agent Boaz Ben-Zion, all of whom were assaulted near their homes. On Thursday morning, Topaz took an electric cord from a kettle and tied it to a faucet in a shower cell situated 80 centimeters above the floor. He then tied the cord around his neck, lay down, and strangled himself to death. The Israel Police appointed a judge to head an independent committee of inquiry, a standard step following a death in a prison.