KFAR ETZION, West Bank: The family of two Israeli sisters who were killed in a shooting attack in the occupied West Bank shared tearful eulogies on Sunday with a room full of weeping mourners, while their mother who was wounded remained in a coma.
Maia and Rina Dee, 20 and 15, who were also British citizens, died on Friday when their car was shot at by a suspected Palestinian gunman. Israeli forces are still trying to track the assailant down.
The sisters’ father, Leo, broke down in tears as he spoke before the crowd that had gathered in the Jewish settlement of Kfar Etzion for the funeral.
He evoked the Passover holiday now being celebrated and the story of the biblical exodus of Jews from slavery in Egypt to freedom.
“The journey to redemption is a slow one — three steps forward and two steps back. And Maia and Rina, with your loss, our world has taken two steps back,” he said, extending an arm in the direction of their bodies that lay covered in cloth. “You have inspired us, you’ve loved us, and in turn we will love you forever.”
Their sibling Keren lamented not being able to protect her younger sister.
“I would do anything to have been in the car instead of you,” she said.
After a year of escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence, tensions are running especially high as Ramadan and Passover coincide. Hours after the sisters were killed, an Italian tourist was killed in a ramming attack in Tel Aviv.
The attacks added to heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions following Israeli police raids in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque last week.
Since the beginning of the year, at least 18 Israelis and foreigners have been killed in attacks in Israel, around Jerusalem and in the West Bank. In the same period, Israeli forces have killed more than 80 Palestinians, most of them fighters in militant groups but some of them civilians.