Rabbi Dan Martzbach was buried Friday after the tragic accidental shooting by IDF soldiers who thought he was a terrorist.
Rabbi Martzbach was driving at dawn from his communities in Otniel, southwest of Hevron, to the Patriarchs’ Cave in Hevron, as he usually did Friday morning.
A passenger in the car later confirmed that he was driving unusually fast in order not to be late for prayers. Someone had reported to the IDF that a car was being driven in a suspicious manner.
The army ordered an improvised roadblock. Rabbi Martzbach apparently did not see the roadblock, and the soldiers fired in the air when he passed. Hearing the gunshots, he thought terrorists were shooting and he sped up even more, a passenger reported.
The mix-up escalated, and the soldiers fired at the driver, against normal procedures.
The soldier who fired immediately apologized for the shooting when he realized the passengers were Jews, but it was too late. Rabbi Martzbach was killed instantly, and two passengers were wounded with light to moderate injuries.
As the soldier was trying to see what he could do to help, he was hit by a Palestinian Authority driver who had not seen him and was lightly injured.
One of the survivors expressed understanding that the soldier had made an innocent error.