Terror victims Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger and Staff Sgt. Gal Kaidan laid to rest
Thousands of people turned out Monday to pay their last respects to Rabbi Achiad Ettinger HY”D and IDF Staff Sgt. Gal Kaidan HY”D, who were murdered by Muslim terrorists in a combined stabbing and shooting attack at Ariel Junction.
Hundreds of Israelis attended Monday morning the funeral of Staff Sgt. Gal Kaidan (19), a member of the Artillery Corps from the 334th battalion and a gifted musician.
The funeral was held in the military cemetery in Beer Sheva, his hometown.
Gal was posthumously promoted from sergeant to staff sergeant.
“Gal was a child who always had a smile on his face,” Sharona Kapon, former deputy director of the Conservatory of Music in Beer Sheva said. “He had a great joy for life and a kind heart which was evident in everything he did. He was an excellent student and devoted to music. He studied thoroughly every music piece he played and when he played it, you saw that he played it with love”.
The director of the Conservatory, Jacob Reuven, called Gal a rare breed, a quiet boy who was extremely smart, and who like Reuven played the mandolin, but chose to specialize in the mandocello.
“He did so with expertise and finished his studies with distinction,” Reuven said. “He did everything modestly and was always the first to volunteer. He was smart and kind.”
The funeral for Rabbi Achiad Ettinger (47) began at his home in the Jewish community of Eli before continuing at the Segula cemetery in the central town of Petah Tikva.
Rabbi Ettinger died Monday morning, a day after he was critically wounded in the terror attack at Ariel Junction.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett eulogized the rabbi as a “hero of Israel” and exhorted his family not to let terrorism defeat them.
“This wonderful family here in Eli will wipe away their tears and carry on, because that is what we do here in Eli, in Judea and Samaria and in all of the Land of Israel,” he said. “We grow stronger, but this pervasive evil, which repeatedly cuts down the best of us, must be defeated.”
Ettinger, who ran the Oz and Emuna Yeshiva in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood of south Tel Aviv, is survived by his wife, 44-year-old Tamar, and their 12 children.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday visited the site of yesterday’s terror attack, saying Israeli forces were closing in on the terrorists and that the government’s response will include the construction of more Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
“We know the identity of the attacker,” Netanyahu said. “The IDF, Shin Bet, and security forces are in close pursuit. We know where he lives, we have located his family. I have instructed forces to begin demolishing his home, and the preparations have already begun.”
A vehicle with at least two Muslim terrorists arrived Sunday morning at the Ariel Junction. One of the terrorists stabbed Sgt. Gal Kaidan and shot him with his own gun.
The terrorists then shot another man, apparently a foreign national, stole his car and fled the scene.
They drove to a bus stop at Gitai Avishar Junction, where they shot Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, before fleeing the scene in the direction of Barkan.
A second IDF soldier, Alexander Dvorsky, was taken to the Beilinson Hospital and is still in critical condition.
A massive manhunt is underway in the Qalqilya district of Samaria for two Muslim terrorists who carried out the combined stabbing and shooting attack at the Ariel Junction on Sunday morning.
One of the terrorists has been identified as 20-year-old Omar Abu Lila from the Arab village of Zawiya near Ariel.
Troops raided the terrorist’s home and shop, questioned members of his family and arrested his father and brother for further interrogation.
Engineering forces mapped the terrorist’s home in preparation for its demolition.
Security forces continue to carry out operational and intelligence efforts in order to locate and apprehend the Muslim terrorists.