The Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, paid a condolence visit Thursday to the grieving Rosenfeld family at Kochav Hashachar in the Binyamin region. The family lost its son, Malachi, to a terrorist's bullets earlier this week.
The rabbi told Malachi's father, Eliezer, that his eulogy at the funeral, in which he expressed his strong faith in God, moved the entire nation of Israel.
Rabbi Yosef was also invited to the central synagogue in the community, next to the high yeshiva, and offered words of encouragement to the residents of Kochav Hashachar. He expressed hope that the government would take action to shore up the security of the residents, who are “protecting the nation of Israel with their bodies.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, Malachi succumbed to wounds he sustained in a terrorist shooting attack near the village of Shvut Rachel the previous night.
Hundreds of friends and relatives took part in the funeral, including Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
Rabbi Ohad Krakover, the community's rabbi, eulogized Malachi and said tearfully, “We demand that the government carry out a real revenge – to build and develop the settlement enterprise. We will not be defeated.” Turning to the bereaved family, he said, “Only God can comfort you, the Rosenfeld family.”
Animals in human form
Minister Bennett also eulogized Malachi and said to the family: “You are a symbol of the Nation of Israel in its land. The Nation of Israel salutes you. Our enemy is always trying to hurt the innocent… [they are] animals in human form.” Citing Psalms 18:37, he said, “I chase my enemies and catch them; I do not turn back until I wipe them out.”
"Our enemy is advancing death, funding terror delegations, calling squares and streets after terrorists," Bennett continued. "I say to our enemies, from day to day, your makeup is coming off of your faces. You are a terror organization, that is what you are! Your game is over. This territory will remain Jewish. We are here 3,800 years and we are here to stay. Enough time has passed. Internalize this. When you murder, we build.”
Malachi's father, Eliezer, spoke of his deep bond with Malachi and asked: "What did we do wrong, God, that this is the third time? What did we do wrong?”
Thirteen years ago, on March 29, 2002, Naftali's eldest brother, Lt. Yitzchak-Menachem Rosenfeld, 22, was killed in a jeep accident in the Tze'elim Stream, in the Judean Desert. He was a pilot in the IAF.
Yitzhak-Menachem was named after his uncle, Sergeant Yitzhak-Moshe Rosenfeld, who was also killed during his military service, in 1978.
He went out to play basketball
Malachi's parents are among the founders of Kochav Hashachar. The father is a clarinet player, and the mother is a social worker. They have seven children, beside Yitzchak-Menachem and Malachi Moshe.
"This is a great national tragedy,” Eliezer Rosenfeld said Tuesday after his son's death. “I raised an ambitious boy, wise, with such great intelligence. He went out to play basketball, a competition between communities, and didn't come back. It's shameful, what is happening in our country.”
The leadership of the community warned against the possibility of unauthorized revenge attacks, after Malachi's death: “We ask resolutely to avoid revenge acts, which only weaken and deflect public attention from the justice of our struggle,” the leaders said in a statement.
The statement added that “the goal of the terrorists is to disrupt the routine of life and our right to exist as a nation on our homeland. They will not succeed in this. We will become stronger and settle throughout our land. We call on the government of Israel and the minister of defense to act resolutely for the security of the nation, and put an end to the stuttering and limp behavior in the face of the terrorists, and the granting of gestures whose bitter result is clear.”