'Their love for Israel was so strong'

Hundreds gather to mourn 4 victims of Kiryat Arba terror attack; funerals held in Jerusalem, Ashdod, Petah Tikva.

terror attack victims funerals 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
terror attack victims funerals 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Hundreds of mourners gathered on the Mount of Olives on Wednesday afternoon to bury Talia and Yitzhak Ames, the parents of six children, who were killed in the shooting attack on Route 60 the previous night.
“I didn’t have a chance to tell you before you left us how much I love you both,” said Ruth Ames, 19, the victims’ second-oldest child.
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“Mom, I promise you I will take care of the family; I promise I will take care of the children that will grow up without you. Dad, I promise that I will continue your work with the Temple Mount, I will make sure that families keep coming and they love it as much as you.”
Yitzhak Ames, 47, a historian, was remembered for his love and deep knowledge of the Temple Mount. He was in the middle of writing an encyclopedia of the laws, customs and artifacts associated with the Holy of Holies.
Talia, 45, was an accountant. She was nine months’ pregnant when she died.
“We are on the wrong mountain,” said Yitzhak’s friend Shlomo Neiman, as he looked across the Kidron Valley to the Temple Mount.
For the past seven years, Ames has visited the Temple Mount every Rosh Hodesh (the begining of each Hebrew month) and every Wednesday, often leading large groups from Gush Etzion and teaching them about the history of the area. This week, he altered his schedule and ascended the Temple Mount on Tuesday, the day of his death.
Talia and Yitzhak Ames, who recently became grandparents and celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary just two weeks ago, met while in line to register for classes at Moscow University. Talia converted to Judaism and they both became religious in Russia, immigrating to Israel 19 years ago with two children, going straight to Beit Hagai in the South Hebron Hills. They were active in the Russian religious community, frequently bringing groups to holy sites in Jerusalem, most often to the Temple Mount.
“Yitzhak’s whole life was the Temple Mount,” his friend Meir Antopolsky told The Jerusalem Post. “He worked as a guard, as a dishwasher, but this was his whole life. So many people knew him through his tours.”
In addition to the book that Ames was writing about the Temple Mount, he kept a blog about the area.
“His last entry was three days ago,” Antopolsky said. “He wrote that at Rosh Hashana this year, finally, he wasn’t going to pray for a livelihood, that he was going to pray just for the rebuilding of the Temple.”
“They lived in a really simple way, and were just concerned with what was good for Israel, following the Torah, and praising God,” close family friend Ruth Belostotsky told the Post.
“Their love for Israel was so strong. Newspapers might label them as ‘right-wingers’ but they didn’t have an ideology of hate. They wanted peace, just like everyone else.”
Friends called the Ameses “a love story with Israel,” in their eulogies, remembering their dedication to Gush Katif in 2005.
“When Gush Katif happened, they just got up, took all the kids, I think five at the time, and moved to Gush Katif for six months,” said Belostotsky.
“Talia was pregnant at the time... and during the last period, they opened their house and gave all the activists a place to sleep. Their floor was totally filled with people. And Talia, who was huge at the time, was cooking big meals for everyone. They were real heroes.”
As a result of their activism on behalf of Gush Katif, Yitzhak Ames lost his gun license a few months ago.
“He was a man who wasn’t afraid of anything,” Belostotsky said. “Maybe if he had had a gun...
“There are four bodies today because the government, instead of fighting terrorism, is fighting citizens. They put settlers in situations where their hands are tied,” she said.
The other two victims of Tuesday night’s shooting attack were also laid to rest on Wednesday. All three funerals began with eulogies in Beit Hagai, after which the Aimeses’ funeral set off for Jerusalem, while Kochava Even-Haim, 37, was buried in Ashdod and Avishai Schindler, 25, in Petah Tikva.
“Right now I am not scared, I am sure you are in a good place,” said Even-Haim’s husband, Momi.
Even-Haim, a nursery school teacher, was remembered as a stalwart and humble volunteer in the community. She was always working behind the scenes to prepare food for others during times of need, or make photocopies of the Daf Yomi daily Torah folio so that the community could study together.
Because of reoccurring health problems, she had difficulty getting pregnant. After years of trying, she finally gave birth to a daughter, who is now eight.
Schindler had just finished his army service and was studying in a Hebron yeshiva. He married a year ago and had no children.
“Avishai, we have come to part from you, at the place where you built your house,” said his uncle, Zvi Shalva. “We all promise to continue in your path.”
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.