Public Memorial for Fogel Victims Planned
A memorial marking eleven months since the massacre of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar will be held next Thursday at the Yeshurun Synagogue in Jerusalem.
The five victims - Ehud, 36, Ruth, 35, and their children Joab, 11, Elad, 4, and newborn daughter Hadass - were brutally murdered on 11 March 2011 by cousins Hakim and Amjad Awad from the nearby Arab village of Awarta.
They were survived by Tamar, 12, Roi, 8, and Yishai, 2.
Both Awad cousins were sentenced to five consecutive life sentences for the five murders. However, many in Israel, including Itamar Rabbi Natan Chai, feel the death penalty was warranted.
Yochai Ben-Yishai, brother of the slain Ruth Fogel, told Arutz Sheva that the months since the horrific event have only deepened the pain felt by the family.
"The pain is enormous and gains strength. Maybe the pain today is less sharp, but more powerful and deep," Ben-Yishai said. "The awareness of the empty space in our lives is very large and always felt. All that happens is connected to it, touches that empty space, and that is painful and requires coping ".
The surviving Fogel children live with Ben-Yishai's parents.
"They live with my parents, and we see them all the time. They are also family, so it's a warm relationship with the older children who understand their circumstances."
"We had to deal with a lot of pressing things after the murder. Since then, however, we have been surrounded by many good people who want help to us as a family – and the children – which is very empowering," Ben-Yishai said.
"We have loss, but my father is always here to help, mostly in private conversations," he added.
Ben-Yishai said the whole family understands the enormity of their mission, "We have many conversations that have clarified these points in depth. We all understand that what happened here is not a private matter. That this event belongs to the whole people of Israel."
"We understand, despite our personal pain, that this tragedy does not solely exist on a private level. It's something public," he said.
Ben-Yishai invited the public to join the family at the memorial for their slain family members.
"Next Thursday at the Yeshurun synagogue – at seven o'clock – we will have a memorial service with Rabbis and prayers - and some of my brothers want to share their feelings Assembly."