Shimon and Michal Gross, the parents of 2- and 4-year-old Yael and Avigail z''l who died after being accidentally poisoned in Jerusalem on Wednesday, spoke to Arutz Sheva about their pain in trying to cope with the loss and appealed for help.
The two girls were poisoned after an exterminator, who has been arrested, left pesticide in their apartment's safe room. The chemical agent, Phosphine, is used in chemical weapons in Syria and its use in the family home may well have been illegal.
Aside from the girls, two sons Michael and Yitzhak, aged 5 and 7, remain hospitalized in serious condition, still struggling for their lives.
"I'm begging you all to hold your hands and pray together with us," requested the bereaved father Shimon.
Michal, the girls' mother, said in tears "I feel the embrace of the people of Israel and I thank everyone - only prayer will help. There's nothing else in the world, because (the boys') condition is serious. We saw the children, their condition is serious and we want them with us."
"The girls are already gone, the Holy One blessed be He took them," added the mother. "They are beside Him as sweet righteous ones, and it's good for them, what G-d does is for good, we are certain of that. With G-d's help, in the merit of the people of Israel, the boys will be healthy and continue to be happy with us."
Thursday evening, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu contacted Shimon to express his condolences, saying "the people of Israel cry with you and embrace you. We all send you strength in this difficult hour. We mourn the death of Yael and Avigail z''l, and pray for the health of the boys."
Earlier on Thursday, Shimon was discharged from the hospital in time to attend his daughters' funeral. Eulogizing the girls, the father said "G-d came and took them in an instant, from one second to the next. We didn’t even have time to pray."
Turning to their small graves, Shimon beseeched "Avigail and Yael, go before the Throne of Glory, you, babies who never sinned, and ask for divine mercy for your brothers."
Tzippora Gross, grandmother of the girls, said on Thursday morning "let the entire Jewish nation pray for the boys, that they be healthy, that they have the strength to deal with this. Each person can do something in merit of the two boys."
The public has been urged to pray for the two young victims using their Hebrew names, Raphael Yitzchak Isaac ben [the son of] Michal, and Chaim Michael Shlomo ben Michal.
Fears were raised of a second poisoning in Jerusalem on Thursday, as a mother and her 2 children were hospitalized with identical symptoms after the same exterminator sprayed their home.