Thousands flocked to Jerusalem for the funeral of stabbing victim Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, who was laid to rest Sunday at Jerusalem's Har HaMenuchot cemetery. 

Rabbi Lavi, 41, a father of seven, grew up in Beit El in Binyamin north of Jerusalem, where his parents, Yechezkel and Tirza Levy, are one of the fifteen first families to move there, but has lived in the Old City for the past 23 years. He was a rabbi at Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim.

According to the rabbi's friends, he went down with his gun to try and save those wounded by the Arab terrorist in the attack, which also killed 21 year-old Aharon Banita Bennett and injured his wife and sonUpon arrival, the terrorist stabbed Lavi and took his weapon. 

Bennett will be laid to rest at Har HaMenuchot cemetery at 1:30 pm Sunday. 

Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi
Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi Shia Browner

'You Were As Strong as a Lion'

​President Reuven Rivlin gave a eulogy for Rabbi Levi. 

"You were killed because of your nation and your nationality," Rivlin eulogized. "Through your mesirut nefesh [life-giving act - ed.], you have left a legacy for your people and your children; the people will never forget your bravery." 

"We find ourselves in a difficult and daily battle that continues."

Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau lauded Rabbi Lavi's selflessness. 

"You ran your body to save, to help, to fulfill the commandment of 'with your body,'" Rabbi Lau stated. 

"Master of the Universe, we have been given tests to pass - but where is our joy on this holiday?" he continued. "Rabbi Nehemiah, we stand here opposite your grave instead of rejoicing with you. . . what kind of happiness can there be when children ask where their father is?" 

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also hailed Rabbi Lavi as a hero. 

"Unhesitatingly and courageously, you went to help when you heard screams," Barkat stated. "You were as strong as a lion."

"Yesterday you were murdered in cold blood because of a burning hatred," he continued. "Palestinian Authority inciters stabbed you along with the terrorist just because you were Jewish." 

"We are in pain, but we stand strong. Any attempt to harm us or to exclude us will be reflected in another building built in Jerusalem," he promised. "I call on all of the citizens of Israel not to give the murderers what they want; we must go to Jerusalem and holy places and tell our enemies that their ways do not scare us - only strengthen us." 

"You fell for the city of Jerusalem," Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the Rosh Yeshiva (dean) of Ateret Cohanim, eulogized. 

Rabbi Aviner added that Rabbi Lavi was "in love with the Torah" and had "wonderful character traits." 

"You loved the Land of Israel and loved the people of Israel," he added. "You fell as a soldier without a uniform. We are all soldiers without uniforms."

"I assure you that we will continue to learn in Jerusalem, thanks to you," he concluded. "Nothing will scare us, we are stronger."

Family: You aren't ours anymore - you're the entire nation's

Rabbi Nehemia's wife Neta then spoke. 

"You aren't ours anymore," she said. "You're the entire Jewish people's." 

"You were a wonderful husband and father, a friend, a person of character," she continued. "You knew that Jerusalem is not just a dream, but that it is our right to live there without fear in this place, in the Old City."

"The difficulties were a challenge and we admired you for it. You gave strength to strength and good experiences. You would want us all to understand how important is it to live there."

"My father was not murdered; my father was killed in the fight with the enemy," Lavi's son stated during an emotional eulogy. "He left his home to protect and fell in battle."


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