Terror in Israel

‘I want to give you a hug one last time’

Kindergarten teacher, father and son killed in Palestinian terror shootings.

Batsheva Nigri, who was killed in a terrorist attack on August 21. Photo: Courtesy
Batsheva Nigri, who was killed in a terrorist attack on August 21. Photo: Courtesy

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral on Monday of Batsheva Nigri, a 42-year-old mother of three who was killed in a terror shooting attack close in the southern West Bank on Monday morning.

Nigri was killed when a vehicle she was in with her 12-year-old daughter – who was unharmed in the attack – and a driver came under fire on the Route 60 highway. Driver Aryeh Leib Gottlieb was seriously wounded and was rushed to Beersheba’s Soroka Hospital where he was stabilised after undergoing surgery.

The vehicle was hit by at least 22 rounds, with another three bullet impacts found nearby, according to the military’s initial investigation.

Family and friends of Nigri, who worked as a kindergarten teacher in Efrat, paid their last respects to her at the Gush Etzion Regional Cemetery.

Nigri’s sister, Eliya said she was “the most special sister I could have”.

“You were full of light, with a pure heart. You were a true inspiration. I miss you and am crushed,” she said.

In her eulogy, Nigri’s daughter, Shirel, recounted the attack.

“Today we went out shopping in Jerusalem, and suddenly we heard gunshots. The windows were broken, and you were no longer awake.

“Mum, I want to give you a hug one last time. I miss you. You were the happiest person I know. I ask that you watch over us and don’t leave me,” she said in comments cited by Walla.

Israeli security forces arrested two Palestinian brothers in Hebron early on Tuesday morning on suspicion of carrying out the attack. The elite Yamam counterterrorism unit also seized an M-16 assault rifle suspected to have been used in the attack.

On Sunday evening, a father and son who were killed in a terror attack in the Palestinian town of Huwara in the West Bank on Saturday were laid to rest side by side in Ashdod.

Shay Silas Nigreker (right) and his son Aviad Nir, who were killed in a terror attack on August 19. Photo: Courtesy

Shay Silas Nigreker, 60, a native of India, and his 28-year-old son Aviad Nir, were shot dead at a carwash on Saturday, with a terrorist approaching on foot and opening fire at the two Israelis from close range with a handgun.

“He would go to Huwara all the time. He was not afraid, and he would say, ‘Those are my friends there,’” recounted Shay’s wife, Rina, at the funeral, according to Army Radio. “I still can’t believe it. Next week was supposed to be our 20th anniversary. He loved to help people.”

Aviad’s aunt, Dorit Yifrah, said, “We still can’t believe you are not with us,” according to the local Ashdodnet news site.

“You were murdered by animals, a killer who attacked you from behind … Aviad, you were a wonderful father and a loving husband.”

Huwara has long been a flashpoint in the West Bank, thanks to a main thoroughfare running through the town which is regularly used by Israelis to travel to and from settlements. There have been several shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the town in recent months, including the killing of two brothers in February, which sparked a deadly rampage by extremist settlers.

In the wake of the attacks, Israel’s security cabinet met on Tuesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement after the meeting, saying ministers agreed on “a series of decisions to target terrorists and authorised the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister to act on the matter” but did not elaborate on what those decisions were.

Shortly after the meeting, partial quotes were leaked to Hebrew media of an exchange between far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, the latter of whom was blamed a day earlier by the former and other ultranationalist ministers for the deadly terror wave.

According to the leaks, Ben Gvir called for the IDF to impose closures and partial lockdowns of Palestinian villages, in addition to erecting more checkpoints throughout the West Bank, rescinding entry permits for Palestinian labourers, carrying out targeted assassination of Palestinian terror leaders in the West Bank and further tightening the conditions of Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails.

Also this week, far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich sent a letter to ministers informing them of his intent to present his plan to the cabinet this week to expand West Bank settlements and legalise dozens of outposts in response to the terror attacks.

Meanwhile, Police filed an indictment on Sunday against a man from the central Arab town of Tayibe for giving a ride to the Palestinian terrorist who shot and killed Tel Aviv patrolman Chen Amir earlier this month.

Community rocked

Carly Adno

The senseless murder of beloved kindergarten teacher Batsheva Nigri hit closer to home this time. My first cousin Tal Malka and her husband Itsik live in Efrat and Batsheva was their children’s teacher.

They were on holiday when they received the shocking news.

“Nothing in life prepares you for this,” said Itsik, explaining that Tamar and Yonatan have been under Batsheva’s care for the last three years.

“A woman with a full heart, a woman who didn’t give up on any child from the kindergarten. I have no idea how to explain this to Tamar and Yonatan.”

Tal added that Batsheva loved the two children she and her husband fostered as much as she did her own, while another parent at the kindergarten said, “Going down the stairs to the kindergarten and not seeing your shining face and warm hug is simply incomprehensible.”

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