Prison Rabbi Uriel Malka, father of five from Karnei Shomron, was one of the 36 prison cadets to be consumed by the Carmel fire. An elaborate website has already been established in his memory with tribute from his many students in Israel and North America, including video clips, photographs, and more.
Rabbi Malka, 32, is survived by his wife Ortal and five children, aged 9 and younger. He was an officer and rabbi in the IDF, served in the Paratroopers Commando Unit, taught in Canada and the U.S. for two years, and was studying to be an Israel Prison Service (IPS) rabbi. During the Second Lebanon War, he told of how he engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Hizbullah terrorists.
His last SMS message, sent to Rabbi Yehuda Vizner, Chief Rabbi of the IPS, from the ill-fated bus that overturned in the fire, stated simply, “I am on my way to rescue Jews. We’ll be in touch.” At the funeral, Rabbi Vizner said, “We’ll have to be in touch in this world via activities that he would have done, and that will now be done in his memory.”
Rabbi Malka grew up in the city of Yavneh, studied in the Karnei Shomron hesder yeshiva, and became an IDF rabbi. He spent two years teaching in Winnipeg and Denver, building ties to many dozens of students who contributed photos, videos and memories to the special Uriel Malka memorial website in both Hebrew and English.
“He was always concerned about others,” his brother Dudi said at the funeral. “He was a fighter in the Paratroopers, and he met near-death several times… He always gave me strength, and flooded the family with energies of Torah and mitzvot.”