'We were ready for a birthday - not a murder'

Daughter of Reuven Shmerling, murdered on eve of Sukkot in Kfar Qasim: 'We are certain that the background is nationalistic.'

Ido ben Porat ,

Funeral of Reuven Shmerling
Funeral of Reuven Shmerling
Yoni Kempinski

Idit Batzar, the daughter of Reuven Shmerling, who was murdered in an attack on the eve of the Sukkot holiday, spoke this morning with Kan Bet about her father.

“My father was a man whom everyone was sure was his best friend, every child thought he was most important to him, every grandchild knew that grandpa would do anything for him, an exemplary family man, a happy man, honest, a man of prayer, truly a people person,” she described.

The family had planned to celebrate Shmerling’s 70th birthday, such that all his children and grandchildren had arrived in Elkana, where he lived, ahead of the Sukkot holiday and birthday celebrations. “Dad was born after the first day of Sukkot. Every year, the family would get together in the Sukkah in Elkana to celebrate his birthday. This year, something bigger was planned in honor of his 70th birthday.”

“The house is full of sweets, snacks and refreshments that had been prepared. We were ready for a birthday - not a murder,” she emphasized.

On the eve of the Sukkot holiday, Reuven told his wife that he was “hopping over to” the storehouse of his business in the industrial area of Kfar Qasim, and that he would be back in an hour. “After he wouldn’t answer the phone, Mom started to worry. She called our little brother Shai who worked with him, told him that Dad had gone to Kfar Qasim and that he wasn’t answering phone calls. Shai went to the village, and found him there.”

Idit is convinced that the motive for the murder is nationalistic, in contrast to what was reported in some news outlets after the attack. “We believe that investigators will do their best. We know that there was no workplace argument, because nobody disliked him. He was not afraid, they were not looking for him and he wasn’t in an argument. We are certain that the background is nationalistic.”

“Anybody who knew him and came into contact with him understands that there are things which do not make sense. My father did not know how to argue, he was fair and knew how to give. He was not a man of strife, not a man of disagreement, and even when he became angry, he forgave very quickly. If an employee asked for a raise, he would receive a raise. He was a man of giving,” she described.