ISRAEL is in mourning after a young father was stabbed to death by a terrorist who is being hailed as a “martyr” by the Palestinian Authority.
Yotam Ovadia, 31, was murdered while he was on his way to pick up ingredients to cook his wife a romantic dinner to mark Tu b’Av.
As his family sat shiva, praise for his killer grew, with Hamas saying he had masterminded a “heroic action”.
The official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority called him a “martyr”.
Muhammad Tareq Youssef fatally stabbed Ovadia, and hours later the slain father was being buried and his father was choking on the Kaddish prayer, struggling to get the words out.
Override’s grandmother was eulogising him as a “flower”.
“There are no words to console you,” President Reuven Rivlin told the family in a condolence call. “Your loss is unbearable.”
The 17-year-old terrorist jumped over the fence to get into Ovadia’s settlement, Adam, in the West Bank.
He stabbed two other residents, including one who shot and killed him.
The attack took place last Thursday, but this week residents in Adam were still absorbing what happened.
“One of my friend’s kids won’t leave the house,” Miriam Leichman told The AJN. “He is having nightmares and is very scared.”
Everybody in Adam, adults and children, knew that they were in the throes of a crisis.
“Everyone was very freaked out,” said Leichman. “Everything was calm and then we found out from the news what happened, then suddenly the sirens went off and we went into lockdown closing the blinds and the windows.
“The children woke up and they were scared. When eventually we went to sleep it was still going on. We put the children in our bed and snuggled. Our visitor couldn’t go home.”
At the funeral, as friends cried and an elderly relative wailed loudly, politicians took aim at the Palestinian Authority, which is embroiled in controversy over respect and payments it gives to terrorists.
This controversy has intensified since Australia recently stopped direct funding for the PA.
Eli Ben Dahan, the Deputy Defence Minister, said that the PA is part of the “problem”, not the solution.
Yariv Levin, Tourism Minister, said: “The Palestinian Authority and its leaders bear full responsibility for the murder. Whoever educates his children to glorify the murderers will pay the full price for their crimes.”
During Rivlin’s condolence call on Monday Ovadia’s widow, Tal, raised the issue of pay-to-slay.
“Mr President, I want to convey a message with your help,” she said. “We must not give in to the family of the terrorist. They get a salary, encouragement, and their homes aren’t destroyed. It can’t be so.”
Not all Israelis agree that Israel needs to treat the families of terrorists more harshly, with some in the security establishment believing such moves could backfire.
But in Adam this week, calls for strong action abounded.
Shalom Miller, a local rabbi, told The AJN, “I think that it’s time to deal with the propaganda, remembering that this was a 17-year-old and that these people are being raised on hate. It’s about time the government takes steps to root out the negativity.
“I believe families of terror victims should be evicted from the land and there should be the electric chair for terrorists.”