Latest Terrorism Victim Buried in Hevron

Yossi Shok, the 54th casualty of anti-Israel Palestinian terrorism this year, was buried today in the Jewish cemetery in Hevron.<BR><br/>

Contact Editor
Hillel Fendel, | updated: 15:45

Shok, 35, was shot by Palestinian Arab terrorists from a car that passed his own vehicle. He was on his way home on Friday afternoon to Beit Haggai, south of Kiryat Arba, and 20 miles south of Jerusalem; with him in the car were two sisters, also residents of Beit Haggai, who were physically unharmed in the attack. They said they noticed something amiss when a car overtook them with its window open in a heavy rain - but that before they had a chance to react, massive fire was opened at them.

Shok was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, where he was pronounced dead.

Five other Jews have been murdered in the past six months in two similar attacks by what is assumed to be the same terrorist cell. In June, teenagers Avichai Levy, also of Beit Haggai and Amiad Mantzur of nearby Otniel were murdered via shots fired from a car as they stood on the side of the road near Beit Haggai. Two months ago, three Jews, including newlywed Matat Adler, 21, her cousin Kineret Mandel, 23, and 9th-grader Oz Ben-Meir, were murdered as they waited for a ride at the Gush Etzion junction. Each of the attacks occurred shortly after the army took down checkpoints as good will measures for the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Friday's attack, too, occurred just hours after the IDF took down a checkpoint on the approach road to the Arab village of Fawwar, from where the murderers apparently came. In response to the murder, the IDF said it would replace dozens of checkpoints on the roads in the vicinity and increase road patrols. It was reported today that the army had already reinstated 55 checkpoints in the vicinity.

Shok is survived by his wife Sagit, their five children aged between one month and nine years, and three brothers - including Arutz-7 Hebrew news editor Yigal Shok. Over 500 people took part in the funeral, which set off from Beit Haggai and ended in the Jewish cemetery in Hevron. His 9-year-old son Yonatan spoke of his father's "warm hug and many acts of hessed (kindness)."

Yossi Shok was a member of Beit Haggai's secretariat and headed the town's emergency defense unit. A native of Netanya, he moved to the southern Hevron Hills community shortly after he married, and worked as an engineer for the Kiryat Arba Development Company.

Arutz-7's Kobi Sela reported that dozens of cars took part in the funeral, and stopped at the site of the murder. "The residents are angry and very concerned," he reported, "at the removal of the checkpoints and at the fact that murderous terrorists are free to roam their roads. Some of them held a protest this morning outside the army headquarters, and one soldier came out and said to me privately, "If I could, I would tell you how strange some of the decision-making here is.'"

Prime Ministerial aide David Baker said after the attack, "With the Palestinian Authority not lifting a finger to fight terror against Israelis, Israel cannot be expected to sit by idly - nor will we."

Hevron Hills regional council chairman Tzviki Bar-Chai, speaking with Arutz-7's Hebrew department today, said, "Today we're OK, but what about in 2 weeks and in four weeks? The problem is that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz don't see themselves as fighting an all-out war against terrorism..."

Knesset Member Uri Ariel (National Union) also blamed soft governmental policies for the attack. "The Prime Minister and Defense Minister allowed armed Arabs on the roads," he said, "in order to ensure Palestinian Authority elections, despite repeated warnings of the terrorist dangers involved."

Beit Haggai, despite its terrorism losses of the past few months, has grown by more than 30% over the past several months, welcoming some 20 new families.

Shortly after the funeral ended, a Kassam rocket was fired some 50 kilometers to the west, from Gaza towards the power plant in Ashkelon. No casualties or damage were reported.

Another tragedy that accompanied the killing on Friday was the car-accident death of Neta Yitzchaki near Shilo - just as her father Yinon, a member of the Kiryat Arba emergency unit, was responding to the terror attack.