Twenty five deputy mayors from across Israel participated on Thursday in a solidarity tour of the Samaria community of Itamar, following the brutal murder of five members of the Fogel family last week.
The tour, attended by members of the Forum of Deputy Mayors, was organized by Deputy Shomron Mayor Ehud Studenia. It began in the community of Barkan, where the deputy mayors observed the Dan region. The tour then continued to Itamar, where participants saw the point where the terrorists who committed Friday night’s murder infiltrated the community, and heard a review of the incident from Shomron Mayor Gershon Mesika and from Rabbi Nitzan Yamin, the local school principal and teacher of 11-year-old Yoav Fogel who was killed in the massacre. The tour then continued in Elon Moreh for a conversation with Samaria Residents' Council head Benny Katzover, and concluded with a visit to the home where the Fogel family is sitting shiva, in the community of Neve Tzuf.
Some of the deputy mayors who took part in the tour were Deputy Ashkelon Mayor Shimon Cohen, Deputy Givatayim Mayor Moshik Goldstein, Deputy Raanana Mayor Arie Friedman, Deputy Ramat Gan Mayor Moshe Avihu, Deputy Mayor of Betar Illit Shlomo Sharabi, Rosh Haayin Deputy Mayor Razi Ahrak, and others.
The Chairman of the Forum of Deputy Mayors and Acting Mayor of Bat Yam, Uri Buskila, said during the tour that “the Forum calls upon the government to do everything possible so that we do not hear that the murder could have been avoided if safety measures which were prevented by some legal advisor would have been taken. There should not be a reality in which the fate of community residents is ignored and in which they do not receive the optimal security because of bureaucratic problems. We are ready to provide backup for the brave Jews who live in Samaria out of their own choice and because of a decision made by the Israeli government.”
Shomron Mayor Gershon Mesika told the deputy mayors: “The Zionist answer to the terrible massacre that happened here should be the establishment of five towns in memory of each of the victims. The barbaric murderers came here to cut off lives and to crush the communities, and the correct answer should be a building momentum. It is inconceivable that the Israeli government removes checkpoints and thus empowers the Palestinian Authority terrorists while preventing security from the Jewish residents. The residents of Itamar are heroes and pioneers but the Israeli government must begin to fight terrorism and stop harming life.”
At the conclusion of the tour, Buskila said: “It was important also for these deputies to come and see firsthand the hardships under which Jews are living. The idea here is to come, see and understand the reality since we are all brothers.”