The body of American tourist Taylor Force, who was murdered on Tuesday in an Arab terrorist attack in Jaffa (Yafo), is being sent back to America on Friday morning for burial.
Force was murdered during a stabbing spree in which ten other people were wounded as well, before the terrorist was shot and killed by police volunteers.
His family sent a message to the Israeli public through former MK Dov Lipman, saying, "please convey our deepest appreciation to the Israeli people and government who have been so compassionate and thoughtful during the worst moment of our lives."
"Taylor was our world and our lives are forever changed, but knowing Israel mourns with us is comforting."
Lipman took part in arranging a sendoff ceremony for Force at Ben-Gurion International Airport at 8 a.m. on Friday morning.
Force, a 28-year-old native of Lubbock, Texas and a US Army veteran, had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan where fellow soldiers described him as a role model and “father figure." He returned to the US unscathed, and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, during two massacres, including the 2009 Fort Hood terror attack perpetrated by Nidal Hassan.
After completing his service with the US Army, he enrolled in an MBA program in Vanderbilt University.
Force, who was not Jewish, traveled to Israel as part of his studies to “expand his understanding of global entrepreneurship and also to share his insights and knowledge with start-ups in Israel,” according to a statement by Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos.