Police honor terror victim Rabbi Nehemia Lavi

Police honor Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, his wife Neta describes his heroism and sacrifice, as he left their Shabbat table to save others.

Orli Harari,

Stabbing attack in Old City of Jerusalem
Stabbing attack in Old City of Jerusalem
MDA spokesperson

The Israeli Police Force has decided to grant a citation of honor to Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, killed in a terrorist attack in the Old City of Jerusalem after he rushed to the aid of Aharon Banita-Bennett - who was also killed in that attack.

Upon news of the police citation, Lavi's brother-in-law, Elkana Bar Eitan, wrote on his Facebook page: "I see an interesting parallel between the police citation and the Olympic medals with which all of us are concerned of late. Just as the Olympic medals not only represent success at the Games but also years of hard work and intensive practice, so this citation represents a complete life and not just one act of heroism."

According to Bar Eitan, he was not surprised when he heard that Lavi had run out of his house and endangered his life for another. "It was clear, because all his life he had put the other before his own personal good."

"There are those who say we are exaggerating, as is customary to do when someone is killed in heroic circumstances, but we even would often express our appreciation for Nehemia and Neta [his wife] even while he was alive. We always admired this amazing couple that was a symbol for infinite giving and concern for others.

"Even today, Neta, my beloved sister-in-law who survived the attack, continues to live according to those same values of giving and concern for the other, and its clear to me that she is also deserving of the citation of bravery. I feel very privileged to be a part of this wonderful family," Bar Eitan wrote.

Rabbi Lavi's mother, with his picture, at court (Yonatan Sendel/Flash 90)

In an interview with Channel 20, Neta retold her memories of the fatal attack. "We were finishing up a meal, we returned from the Sukka [a ritual hut in which one dwells during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot] into the house, and then we heard terrible shouts from the window.

"Our windows face exactly to the area [in the Old City of Jerusalem] where the attack was taking place. For a moment, I thought maybe it was a crazy woman yelling. It didn't sound normal. Are daughter in sixth grade ran to the window to see who was shouting, whether it was a Jewish woman or an Arab woman shouting. She yelled, "It's a Jewish woman!"

Before Neta could grasp what was happening, Nehemia had run downstairs. "Seconds later, I didn't see him. He simply had run down to help her. I didn't understand at first because I hadn't yet grasped what was happening. He understood immediately [...] on those moments, what happened, happened down there."

Neta described her husband's heroism in those moments. "He came out from the porch and ran towards the woman Adel [Aharon Banita's wife], who had suffered serious wounds from the terrorist. It was several meters from where Nehemia met her...he didn't see the terrorist there and turned to help her. The terrorist saw him and came at Nehemia from behind, stabbing him in the main artery, but this didn't confuse Nehemia. He started a difficult physical struggle with the terrorist.

"When I realized what was happening, I, too went downstairs and out into the street. I see Nehemia lying there on his back, the terrorist is grappling with with him, trying to take Nehemia's gun.

"At a certain point, Nehemia raised the gun to shoot the terrorist, but he had no strength left from losing so much blood.

"Those were terrible moments. I remember screaming - Nehemia!"




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