President Reuven Rivlin paid condolence visits Wednesday to families of two of those murdered in yesterday’s terror attack at Har Adar - Or Arish and Youssef Othman.
At the homes of both bereaved families, the President said that he had come to express his thanks, as President and in the name of all the Israeli people, for the lives of the men, women, and children, their sons had saved, and added a personal note as a grandfather, “My grandson is a neighbor, was at the school in Har Adar, and your son prevented the terrorist from reaching the school,” the President said. “As we say, they ‘put their bodies on the line’, which accurately describes how your son fell, preventing a terrorist from harming the citizens of the town. He was defending his own home, and the homes of all of us.”
At the family home of Or Arish, the President heard of Or’s wonderful character as a man of action, who always gave generously of his time to help others in need. The President embraced Or’s two brothers and sister and asked them to be strong for their parents. The President spoke with Or’s grandmothers, he said, “My heart is broken, also as a grandparent. We are here with you, and share your inconceivable pain.”
At the family home of Youssef Othman in Abu Ghosh, the President met Youssef’s parents and siblings, and heard about Youssef as a kindhearted young man who loved his country, and served as a border guard. “I pray together with you, that this house will from now on only know happier times. I pray that as a country we will stop just talking about the bond of blood between Jews and Muslims, and instead will hold sacred the bond of life. Here in Abu Ghosh there is a bond of life. I came to share in your terrible grief, and to say how much we appreciate your sons, who truly defended the grandchildren of so many people with their bodies, and among them my own grandson.”
“Mr. President,” said Issam, Youssef’s father, “We chose life. Clear and simple. We chose this people. This is our people. Without a doubt. We want to offer our support to the other families. We should not only be together in grief, but also in life.”