Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed on Friday his deep shock over the murder of Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, who was known as the “Baba Elazar.”
In a statement, Netanyahu said that the rabbi had been a spiritual leader for many Israelis and had helped them by offering advice and by giving them charity, which he often did away from the public eye.
“Rabbi Abuhatzeira was from the Abuhatzeira family of famous rabbis who maintained the people of Israel’s spirituality and heritage,” Netanyahu said.
“The Prime Minister mourns with the rest of Israel over this great loss,” the Prime Minister’s Office added.
Earlier on Friday, thousands gathered to pay their last respects to the rabbi. His funeral procession began in Be’er Sheva and proceeded to the Porat Yosef yeshiva in Jerusalem before the rabbi’s burial on the Mount of Olives (Har Hazeitim), next to his father.
Leading rabbis expressed their sorrow at his passing on Friday. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef broke down in tears upon hearing of the killing, according to the hareidi news outlet Kikar Shabbat.
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger said of the murder, “I think a horrific crime like this has never happened before. We have to ask ourselves how we reached this point.”
Rabbi Abuhatzeira was murdered by a man who came to his office seeking advice. Police have arrested the man, identified as Asher Dahan of Elad.
Dahan reportedly planned the murder in advance, and was motivated by his dissatisfaction with Rabbi Abuhatzeira’s past advice.