Itamar: Torah Celebration in Memory of Massacred Family
Rabbi Ehud (Udi) Fogel, his wife Ruth, 11-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad, and three-month-old Hadas were stabbed to death by terrorists who entered their home on Friday night, March 11, 2011, and mercilessly killed them.
To commemorate the day, a Beit Midrash [study hall] called Mishkan (Tabernacle of) Ehud was dedicated in memory of Udi Fogel, in Itamar. Among the speakers at the dedication ceremony were Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud), Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) and MK Uri Ariel (National Union). Also speaking were Udi Fogel’s father, Haim Fogel, and Ruth Fogel’s father, Rabbi Yehuda Ben-Yishai of Machon Meir, who are raising the remaining Fogel children.
MK Ariel spoke of the unity among the people of Israel which the horrific murder brought with it, noting that it is a shame that Israelis are not united this way all year long.
“The terrible murder of the members of the Fogel family united for a period of time all the people of Israel, right and left, in a unity which is a shame we do not have throughout the year,” said Ariel. “Everyone put Itamar and the mission that Udi, Ruth and the rest of the residents fulfill here every day for their beliefs, into their minds. Even those who don’t agree with us identified with us for one moment.”
Ariel said that the Beit Midrash “is the true ‘price tag’, it is the proper Zionist response. It’s not a price tag of violence and vandalism, but a price tag of action, construction, Zionism and Torah. ["Price tag" is the name ascribed to private acts of vandalism against Arabs in response to actions against Jews, ed.]
“We respond to destruction with construction, we respond to murder with life,” he added. “That’s the real message to the murderers and their supporters: you will not drive us out of here with your violence. Each murder only strengthens us further.”
Knesset Speaker Rivlin called on the Israeli government to strengthen the land of Israel, not just Judea and Samaria, by building in it and doing it constantly, not just after an act of terrorism.
“I call my friends in the Israeli government, we must not wait anymore,” he said. “Building the land of Israel is an ongoing national act, and it must be done, by government decision, legally and publicly, not secretly as a private initiative, not under the cover of darkness or in response to terrorist acts.
“We must learn from Ruth and Ehud about devotion to the building of Eretz Yisrael,” added Rivlin. “We are not allowed to build in Judea and Samaria only in response to terrorist acts. It is our duty to build in Judea and Samaria, and in the entire Land of Israel, every day. This is the commandment of the Torah and this is the commandment of Zionism. To build the country Israel does not need excuses, no justifications, and certainly not more acts of terrorism.”
Haim Fogel, father of Udi Fogel, said, “A year has passed since the catastrophe, a difficult year of memories and nostalgia, of soul searching among public and private grief. Now that we inaugurated the Beit Midrash named after Udi, our main task is to fill this place with students who will continue Udi and Ruth’s legacy.”
Rabbi Yehuda Ben-Yishai, father of Ruth Fogel said that the Mishkan Ehud Beit Midrash “is a living testimony to the ability of the people of Israel to stand up and be revived. I look at the holy ark, made up of stones and rocks, seemingly without life - and yet in this ark is the Book of Life. From these rocks comes out life.
“Rabbi Ehud and his wife Ruth were really rocks,” said Rabbi Ben-Yishai. From the outside they seemed like ordinary people. And yet so many things are growing out of them. From these rocks so many lives come out.”
Photos: Flash 90