'We aren't afraid to travel anywhere in our country'

Agriculture Minister joins children on visit to site where Arab lynch mob attacked them while on Bar Mitzvah hike.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Yossi Dagan and Bar Mitzvah boy Avitzur Libman
Yossi Dagan and Bar Mitzvah boy Avitzur Libman
Yoni Kempinski

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) and Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan toured the village of Qusra in Samaria on Friday morning, continuing the Bar Mitzvah trip that was interrupted last week when an Arab lynch mob attacked and attempted to murder a group of schoolchildren.

Two people were injured in the attack. One of the attackers was shot and killed in self-defense by one of the adults chaperoning the children.

Minister Ariel and Dagan, who joined the hikers, visited the cave where the children hid from their attackers.

"I was happy to travel this morning in Samaria together with the children who survived the lynching and who [responded] heroically," Ariel said. "I visited the children at the beginning of the week and told them they deserve a certificate of appreciation for their behavior and their coping during the bar mitzvah trip a week ago."

"We have to travel everywhere in our country with appropriate security conditions and we will continue to travel in the Land of Israel. This trip is proof that we will not be afraid to travel anywhere in our country," he said.

"I would like to thank the head of the Samaria Regional Council, the Samaria Settler's Committee, the families and friends for organizing the trip for the children," added Ariel.

"We came here today to strengthen [the Bar Mitzvah boy] Avitzur and his friends, and we see the importance of our ability to travel anywhere in our country," said Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council.

"Avitzur and his friends just wanted to hike, and they did not let them do so. We want to correct their experience and also to correct the experience of the Jewish people," explained Dagan, who initiated the morning trip.

The chairman of the Samaria Settlers' Committee, Tzachi Dikstein, who is one of the initiators of the move, said: "The residents of Samaria will travel everywhere without fear, and we have no reason to apologize. We should walk secure and upright throughout the land."

Avitzur Dikstein himself admitted that "it's not pleasant for me to be here," but stressed: "It also gives me strength to raise my head, and my Bar Mitzvah party was not a simple experience, I am happy that so many people came to strengthen us and to allow me to celebrate again. We would like to say to all the people of Israel, thank you for the great and warm embrace we have received this this happened."

Racheli Libman, Avitzur's mother, said: "It's very exciting, but difficult, to come back here, to think about the difficult things my son and the other children experienced. It is chilling, but on the other hand we chose to return despite the difficulty to make it clear that we do not break easily. That right was right today. We have the right to travel freely throughout the country."