In two weeks, the town of Itamar will mark three years since the brutal murder of the Fogel family, a slaying that shocked the nation. In 2011, two teenage Palestinian Arab terrorists entered the town and murdered Ehud and Ruth Fogel and three of their six children.
In the years since the attack, 38 children have been named after Ehud, Ruth, and the murdered children Yoav, Elad and Hadas.
Last week, Ehud Fogel’s bereaved parents, Chaim and Tzila, hosted an emotional gathering in Itamar during which they met 20 of the children named for their slain son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. They and the children’s parents helped the young children to plant trees in the yard of the Fogel family home.
They planted pomegranates and myrtles (in Hebrew, “Hadas”) in memory of baby Hadas Fogel, the youngest victim of the attack.
The group then continued to Mishkan Ehud, a Torah study hall and synagogue built in memory of the Fogels. Chaim and Tzila Fogel gave the children treats, and the children’s parents explained the meaning behind their names.
Tzila Fogel expressed how moved she was by the event. “My feeling here today is that Udi [Ehud] and Ruth and the children are still alive. It makes me so happy to see you children, and to know that there are those continuing in Ehud and Ruth’s path, and that life goes on,” she said.
On the three-year anniversary itself, the yeshiva of Itamar is planning to open new dormitories in the memory of the Fogels. Ehud Fogel, a rabbi, taught at the yeshiva.
The young terrorists attacked their victims as they slept, and went back to murder three-month-old baby Hadas. Two children survived after the killers failed to notice them, while a third was out of the home at the time of the slayings.
The terrorists’ families helped cover up the crime, disposing of the murder weapons and bloodstained clothes while the murderers returned to school as if nothing had happened. Relatives of the two killers later joined others from their village in threatening Jews from Itamar by saying, “We will turn you into Fogels.”