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      Netanyahu Tells Bereaved Family: 'We Cry with You'

      Netanyahu calls father of poisoned Jerusalem family after 2- and 4-year-old daughters die from lethal pesticides.
      By Ari Yashar
      First Publish: 1/23/2014, 9:58 PM

      Avigayil and Yael Gross, z"l
      Avigayil and Yael Gross, z"l
      Courtesy of the Gross family

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday night contacted Shimon Gross to send his condolences over the death of Shimon's infant daughters Avigail and Yael z''l.

      The two girls, aged 2 and 4, died from poisoning after lethal pesticides were left in the safe room of their apartment by an exterminator, who has been arrested.

      Shimon and his wife were also hospitalized from the poisoning, and their two sons, aged 5 and 7, remain in critical condition.

      "The people of Israel cry with you and embrace you," Netanyahu told the father. "We all send you strength in this difficult hour."

      The prime minister added "we mourn the death of Yael and Avigail z''l, and pray for the health of the boys. I and my wife Sarah send you and your wife Michal condolences and love."

      The two young girls were buried Thursday afternoon in a cemetery in Jerusalem's Givat Shaul neighborhood. Shimon was released from the hospital in time to attend the funeral.

      “G-d, you gave us Avigail, who was so good and so pure, always asking, ‘Is this a mitzvah?’ She was such a pure spirit, she loved to help,” eulogized the father. "Yaeli just started talking, always saying, ‘Daddy, Mommy.’ She was so pure, so sweet. They were such good friends… Yesterday morning they were talking and happy, at night they were still dancing."

      Shimon added “G-d came and took them in an instant, from one second to the next. We didn’t even have time to pray. We have no questions. We don’t know the ways of Heaven, we don’t know why this happened to us. But if the Holy One, Blessed is He, brought us this crisis, He will give us the strength to withstand it.”

      The pesticide that caused the Gross family's tragedy has been identified as Phosphine, a potent poison that has been used in chemical weapons in Syria. The poison levels of the pesticides left in the apartment were extremely high.

      Fears of a second poisoning in Jerusalem were raised Thursday, when a mother and her two children were hospitalized after complaining of identical symptoms to the Gross family, and after the same exterminator sprayed their home.



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