Funeral of Barel Shmueli
Funeral of Barel Shmueli Yonatan Gottlieb

Thousands of people on Monday night attended the funeral of Barel Hadarya Shmueli, the Border Police fighter who was killed in an encounter with terrorists on the Gaza Strip border.

At the request of the family, the funeral was closed to the media.

Barel's mother wept while eulogizing him and criticized the defense establishment. "I can't go on with my life, you sent him without the possibility of shooting a terrorist," she said.

"I will fight your war and take revenge. The only answer I received from everyone was that ‘we did not know the terrorist hid the gun in his underwear,’" she said. "I want to hear someone tell me when a terrorist came carrying toffee candies. The day after they closed the hole [in the fence], but I cannot go on with my life. We have no life."

"Israeli Prime Minister Bennett did not know his name," the mother added. "Bennett, be a hero, give up your seat and fast. You are sitting with the chairman of Hamas in the Israeli government. My son was a sniper and you sent him with zero possibility to shoot the terrorist. He sent a message to friends before the mission, 'I do not understand this country'. I told the commander of the Southern Command to take responsibility."

Yossi, Barel's father, said at the funeral, "I promised you at your bed, when you took your last breath, that I would be strong for you. I love you. Thank you to the people of Israel for the prayers. My son is in heaven."

Several people who attended the funeral shouted and cursed at the head of Southern Command, General Eliezer Toledano, and at Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, accusing them of "tying" the hands of the fighters. Security guards and police surrounded the two senior officers.

MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Otzma Yehudit), who attended the funeral, said afterwards, "I hear the cries of Yossi and Nitza, the parents of the heroic soldier Barel Shmueli who is now being laid to rest, and my heart goes out to them. I demand that the Israeli government avenge Barel's death immediately."

Nine days after he was critically wounded in a shooting incident on the Gaza Strip border, Shmueli's was pronounced dead at Soroka Hospital on Monday, a day after the hospital reported that his condition had deteriorated significantly.

Shmueli, 21, from Be'er Yaakov, served as a sniper in the undercover unit of the Border Police in the Southern District. Last Saturday he was placed in a firing position on the barrier on the Gaza border, when riots broke out near the border fence. He was shot in the head by a terrorist from short range.